Ever since I made the ‘escargots à la Bordelaise’, an improvised recipe given to me by my lovely snail farmer friends, I have been longing to make it again, with or without snails. The rich succulent sauce, filled with bits of sausage meat, red wine and fragrant shallots filled my mind with so many ideas. Last week-end, it was a perfect occasion to start using my frozen cèpes mushrooms, the ones I proudly picked last month in the Médocan forest. So there it was, my wishful thinking coming to life. Rigatoni pasta, cèpes and Bordelaise sauce. All those earthy flavours mixed together form the perfect plat du jour. As I did not have any sausages, I used pancetta, which was equally délicieux.
I get such a kick from making this meal. The smell of the evaporating wine is so inviting, different shades of reds and browns glistening in my cast-iron cocotte. The aromas get really interesting when I add the cèpes, bringing me straight back to the forest. It’s amazing how cooking can transport you to such adventurous places.
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)
500 g rigatoni pasta
200 g pancetta (diced)
5 large cèpes (sliced, you can also use fresh or dried porcini)
2 small shallots (finely sliced)
2 garlic cloves (finely sliced, one for the sauce, one for the cèpes)
400 ml tomato passata
200 ml red wine (I used a very modest Bordeaux)
80 ml beef or chicken broth
1 tbsp plain flour
Olive oil (for frying)
1 tbsp butter (for cèpes)
1 tbsp butter (for pasta)
Salt and pepper (for seasoning)
1 pinch chilli powder
Grated parmesan cheese (for topping)
A bunch of parsley
In a large pan, heat olive oil and add minced garlic and shallots . Cook until soft and slightly golden, about 3 minutes. Add the pancetta and continue to cook until browned. Take the pan off the heat, add 1 tbsp of flour and mix well. Return to heat, add tomato passata, mix well, cover and cook on a low heat for 15 minutes. Add chicken broth, red wine, salt, pepper and chilli. Cover and cook for a further 15 minutes.
Heat the frying pan till sizzling hot, place the cèpes mushrooms to ‘dry them out’ for a few minutes on each sides, season with salt and pepper. Add butter and garlic and continue frying on a high heat until golden.
Mix pasta with sauce, add a tbsp of butter, add cèpes mushrooms. Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan. Serve immediately.