Rachel Roddys recipe for porcini mushrooms with mashed potato | A Kitchen in Rome

Mushrooms and mash are an unexpected hit of a food match. You heard it here first

After another early-morning deluge followed by sunshine, Testaccio, Rome, is warm and soupy. On my way to the market, I see a cluster of tiny, white toadstools at the base of a tree: mischievous white hats in a sea of stewed leaves. Much better are the mushrooms at the market, especially those from Il Velletrano. The family that runs fruit and vegetable stall no.32 comes from a town south-east of Rome called Velletri, hence the father, Giancarlos, nickname, Il Velletrano. Velletri is the city with the highest precipitation in Lazio, and is one of the rainiest cities in Italy; rain that comes down at a rate that seems impossible, then, like a needle being yanked from a record, stops as suddenly as it started. Velletris proximity to the sea and the cupping protection of the Alban hills means it is also a city with a mild climate. All these factors make the surrounding countryside good for mushrooming if you know where to go on a quiet hunt, which Giancarlo does.

This mild November has been good for galletti, also known by their proper name Cantharellus cibarius, or chanterelles. Orange-yellow with soft gills, they look like a wind-inverted umbrella or fluted funnel, the name chanterelle comes from the Greek kantharos, meaning tankard or cup. Galletti are often preserved under olive oil in Italy and then used to top and enhance other dishes, which is where the notion that they are il prezzemolo dei funghi (the parsley of mushrooms) comes from. Galletti are also, like me, a natural partner for pasta. One of my favourites dishes this year was eaten at Taverna Mari in Grottaferrata: a silky, slender fresh egg tagliolini with galletti (which cook into almost velvet softness) with a sauce of sweet datterini tomatoes flecked with chilli. I had a moment of mourning when I ate the last forkful.

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