Theo Randall is the latest in a long line of celebrity chefs to release a book that allows us to cook at home the sumptuous recipes we pay a lot of money to have in their popular restaurants.
Theo made his name at The River Café in Hammersmith which, under his direction as head chef, achieved a Michelin star. Since then he has gone on to open his own self-named restaurant Theo Randall at The InterContinental Hotel in Mayfair. Famed for his Italian food, it is only natural that his first book should be all about pasta.
“My mother taught me to cook pasta when I was just six years old,” says Theo, “and I have adored spaghetti in particular from a very early age.”
Belle About Town shares Theo’s enthusiasm for this versatile Italian dish and has managed to get Theo to share one of his recipes with us which he promises: “if you follow the instructions in the recipes and trust your instincts, you will always produce something delicious.”
Pennette with Chanterelles, Parsley and Mascarpone
“My kids love pennette because it’s so small – it’s pretty much a third of the size of regular penne. What’s particularly good about this dish is that when the mushrooms are cooked down, they amalgamate with the small pasta, giving a nice ratio of pasta to mushroom in every mouthful.”
“The best chanterelles come from Scotland.They have a lovely apricot colour and aroma and are grown in a more humid atmosphere than chanterelles from other parts of Europe – which during the summer can be quite dry and flavourless.The higher water content of Scottish chanterelles makes them generally more flavoursome. In this recipe, I’ve shown a way of effectively blanching the mushrooms in their own juices to concentrate the flavour and reduce any unwanted moisture, which can translate on the plate to being slimy.”
Serves 4 as main or 6 as a starter
2 tablespoons olive oil
500g chanterelle mushrooms, trimmed
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
a pinch of dried chilli flakes
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the mushrooms and cook over a high heat for 3
minutes, so they release their water. Drain the mushrooms, discarding the liquid.Wipe the pan
clean, add the remaining oil and the garlic and chilli and cook until the garlic is soft.Add the parsley
and cooked chanterelles and cook over a low heat for 4–5 minutes. Stir in the mascarpone and a
squeeze of lemon, then season with salt and pepper.
Cook the pennette in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente, then drain, reserving a
spoonful or two of the cooking water.Add the pasta to the mushrooms, mix together and stir in
a little of the cooking water to loosen the sauce, if necessary. Cook over a low heat for 2 minutes,
then serve with grated Parmesan and black pepper.
To buy the book, click here.
Should you need a benchmark for how that dish should taste make a reservation at the best Italian restaurant in London (London Restaurant Awards) Theo Randall’s at The InterContinental on 0207 318 8747.