If it is almost instant gratification you need, this dish is ideal: once the pasta is cooked and ready, it’s really a matter of minutes before you have something immensely satisfying. If brandy isn’t something you keep in stock, you could try with whisky, but a dry white wine would do the trick.
When it comes to the peppercorns, please try and stick to the recipe as best you can: green peppercorns are black peppercorns that haven’t been through the drying and maturing process, but their flavour is more vegetal than warming. I use dried here, which are slightly weaker. If you can’t find the green ones, 2 teaspoons of coarsely ground black pepper would be a reasonable alternative, but, please, never ever use pink peppercorns for this – unless you want a mouth so numb that you feel you’ve visited a backstreet dentist.
INGREDIENTS - SERVES 2
- 250g dried tagliatelle
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1 onion, very finely chopped
- 250g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon dried green peppercorns
- 100ml brandy
- 150ml chicken stock
- 150ml double cream
- Fine sea salt flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, but make sure you do so in very salty water. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving 50ml or so of the cooking water, and have the pasta handy.
For the sauce, heat a medium frying pan over a high heat and, once hot, add the oil and butter, along with the onion, mushrooms and peppercorns. Cook, stirring and tossing the pan constantly, for a few minutes until the mushrooms wilt down and the onion is just slightly softened and coloured. Add the brandy and allow it to bubble and evaporate almost entirely – if it sets on fire that’s fine, just watch your eyebrows. Add the chicken stock and allow that to bubble and almost entirely evaporate. Add the cream, allowing it to bubble for a minute, and then turn off the heat and season to taste. Add the pasta to the frying pan and stir to coat well – if the sauce is a little thick, let it down with the reserved pasta water. Serve immediately.