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Honey Mushrooms with Asparagus Tips and Basil Sauce

ingredients

14 oz (400 g) honey mushrooms or substitute
16 large, fat asparagus spears
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) light stock
3 basil leaves
3 tbsp light olive oil
salt and pepper

for the basil sauce:

4 tbsp pesto sauce
3 tbsp single cream
salt

method

1. Prepare the asparagus spears; double the number of spears if you are using thin, green asparagus. Cut off about 2 in (5 cm) from the larger, tougher ends of the stalks.

2. Make up 4 equal bundles and tie each securely but not too tightly with two pieces of string; steam or boil in salted water for about 12 minutes. If they are ready before you have finished preparing and cooking the mushrooms, drain and keep hot. If you prefer not to gather wild honey mushrooms (also known as bootlace fungus) use very fresh baby button mushrooms.

3. If using honey mushrooms, separate the caps from the stalks, cut off the tough ends of the stalks; rinse and drain the caps and stalks well. Cut the larger stalks lengthwise in half.

4. Heat the oil in a very wide non-stick frying pan and stir-fry the mushrooms with the shallot and the garlic over a high heat for 2 - 3 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper and add the stock and the coarsely snipped basil leaves.

5. Cover and simmer gently for 6 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked. Stir the cream into the pesto. Untie the asparagus bundles and arrange the spears on each individual plate, spoon a little creamy pesto sauce over the tips and place the mushrooms to one side of them.

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