The mushrooms used here can vary depending on what is available - for example, you could add pine mushrooms when in season. Fresh pasta is the ideal partner for rich creamy sauces; a lightweight dried pasta would also work. If you like, use chives or flat-leaf (Italian) parsley instead of tarragon.
5g dried mushrooms, broken roughly
80ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
2 French shallots, chopped
750g mixed fresh mushrooms, such as Portobello, oyster, flat, button and swiss brown mushrooms, sliced 1cm thick
3 garlic cloves, chopped
300ml pouring cream
1 tbsp chopped tarragon, plus whole leaves, extra, to serve
400g fresh fettuccine
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
50g finely grated parmesan cheese
double cream, to serve
1. Place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl, pour 2 tablespoons boiling water over them and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Strain, reserving the soaking liquid.
2. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan, add the shallots and cook over low heat for about 2 minutes, until soft. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until tender.
3. Add the garlic and rehydrated dried mushrooms and stir over medium heat for 1 minute. Stir in the cream and soaking liquid, bring to the boil, then simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the cream has thickened slightly. Stir in the tarragon and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, following the packet instructions, until al dente. Drain. Toss the pasta with half the mushroom sauce and serve topped with the remaining mushroom sauce and extra sprigs of tarragon.