It is the strong aroma and fruity tang of taleggio in this recipe that transforms it from an ordinary mushroom and cheese dish into something truly sublime. Be sure to use fresh tarragon if you can find it.
Mushroom, Tarragon & Taleggio Pasta Bake
handful of coarse sea salt
500g short pasta
300g Portobello mushrooms, stems trimmed level with cap
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
leaves from a few sprigs of fresh parsley, finely chopped
leaves from a few sprigs of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
600ml double cream
100g grated Cheddar
50g grated Parmesan
250g Taleggio, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the pasta according to the instructions.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas 6.
Arrange the mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet, stems up, and brush with the oil. Season lightly with salt, sprinkle over the herbs and roast in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until tender. Remove and let cool slightly.
Slice the mushrooms and set aside.
Preheat the grill to medium.
Put the cream in a large saucepan and bring just to the boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce the heat. Add the Cheddar and Parmesan and half the Taleggio, and stir well to melt. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Put the cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl. Stir in half the sliced mushrooms, pour over the hot cream sauce and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer the pasta mixture to a baking dish and spread evenly. Top with the remaining mushrooms and Taleggio slices and a good grinding of black pepper. Grill for 5-10 minutes until the top is golden and serve immediately.
Extracted from Melted Cheese (Ryland Peters & Small, €13.99).