Sometimes bad things happen to you. For no reason at all, for no fault of your own. A random hate crime from the universe that could have smacked anyone else in the face but instead it chose you. Today, it chose me.
Coming back from a mushroom forage with other Junior Chefs, we noticed a car in the parking lot where we had met earlier that morning with its passenger window completely shattered. It was my car. Someone had broken the glass with a rock the size of my head (which remains on the drivers side floor), stolen my camera (yet left the cell phone that I carelessly left in the first place...), and I suppose, dashed off to the nearest pawn shop to, again with my presumptuousness, get money for drugs.
Ok, so I am insinuating their plan in an unfair way. But I was just robbed of one of my most prized possessions (the one, ironically, I wished I had all day as we treked through the forest in search of non-magic mushrooms), and left, as the weather gets cooler, with no right window and the impending bill for a new one. Also missing was a bag with school papers and government cheque (woulda helped pay for the window...). But what could I do. Just be thankful, I guess, that my beautiful market basket wasnt taken too, or that the ginormous boulder didnt go in one side and out the other.
And cook something wonderful.
Setting out on the mushroom tour today, I envisioned returning home with a little brown bag of collected edibles. I envisioned a risotto or polenta with enough pungent earthiness and cream to right settle into, or even just a buttery sautee on toast with a dry cheese and glass of white. But we came back as empty handed as my passenger side is empty mirrored.
Luckily, I had a bag of local chantrelles in my produce drawer, just waiting for their chance to shine. Softening first a little garlic and onion in olive oil, I chunkily chopped the chantrelles and tossed them in. As they met the heat their sweet smell rose, and I simply forgot about the drama of the end of my day. The camera was no longer a worry, rather it became an excuse for a new one; thankful to come back to any car at all, rather than upset at a car one window short. It was mushroom induced euphoria, something magic.
Chantrelle and Tomato Pasta
I used my last fresh tomatoes of the season for this dish, and can not think of a better way to enjoy them. The sauce was fresh yet rich, with meaty bites of chantrelles, soothing and comforting from first smell to last bite.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; meanwhile...
Heat oil in pan and gently soften:
1 thick slice spanish onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
Once translucent, add:
1 cup roughly chopped chantrelles
Sautee until you are completely enraptured by the buttery sweet smell, then add your pasta to the pot of water.
Add to the pan and season with salt and pepper:
1 large tomato, diced
1 sprig fresh time
Cover and cook for five minutes; remove lid from pan, increase heat, and simmer until at least half of the liquid is gone. Add cooked pasta and toss (if too much of your liquid has evaporated, add a little pasta water to loosed the sauce to coat). Top with chopped parsely and grated grana padano. Eat lifes cares away--it could be worse.