THIS, for me, is the ultimate Scottish-Italian recipe: the marriage of aromatic Scottish wild chanterelle and the punch of chilli and garlic sautéed in the full flavour of Italian extra virgin olive oil.

Chanterelle are prolific in our woods at this time of year. Apricot coloured and firm of texture, their flavour is perfect with pasta or risotto. It is a wonderful experience to find them on a country walk peeping from under the moss carpeting the roots of a beech tree. Please do not be tempted to pick them if you are not sure what you are looking for. Wild mushrooms are very dangerous and can kill.

Luckily, you can buy them in local farm shops. You could also use wild porcini, oyster or Paris brown mushrooms.

This is the ultimate fast food. Get everything ready before you start. Cook the mushrooms as the pasta boils, then everything will be ready to toss together at the last minute.


360g spaghetti

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 clove new season garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 piece dried chilli, crushed ( or 2-3 pinches chilli flakes )

100 ml dry white wine

Bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Sea salt and black pepper.


Pick over the mushrooms carefully, using a pastry brush or damp paper towel to flip away any soil. Trim the bottom and cut any large ones into strips.

You don’t need to wash the mushrooms as they absorb water easily and will lose their flavour.

Put a large pot of water onto boil.

In a wide frying pan, warm the oil with the garlic and dried chilli.

Sauté to infuse the oil.

Add the mushrooms, tossing them in the oil and start to cook them over a brisk heat.

Salt the water to taste and add the spaghetti, pushing it down and stirring it to stop it sticking.

Now, raise the heat on the frying pan and add the white wine, tossing the mushrooms and allowing the steam of the alcohol to evaporate. Sniff the fumes. When they stop catching the back of your throat the alcohol will have evaporated. This leaves the sweetness of the wine in the dish and takes away any acidic aftertaste that can spoil the flavour of the mushrooms.

Lower the heat, season with sea salt and black pepper.

As soon as the pasta is almost al-dente, use tongs to lift it from the pot directly into the chanterelle. The cooking water that clings to the pasta will add the necessary liquid and starch to finish the sauce.

Add plenty of chopped parsley

Toss everything together and cook for a final 2 minutes.