Porcini mushrooms are extremely popular in Italy and many regions hold festivals in the fall when porcini are plentiful using this hearty, earthy mushroom in every dish imaginable. I find it very difficult to find real porcini mushrooms here in North America, but find if I mix some dried porcini in with some milder varieties such as portobello, or crimini I can create a very similar flavor. I often add some dried porcini to many recipes that call for mushrooms as they add a very intense mushroom flavor unlike anything else I have encountered.
This pasta sauce recipe uses a mix of fresh portobello and dried porcini mushrooms and is best served on hard, short pasta such as rigatoni, penne, or an artisan pasta such as trenne pasta.
When shopping for dried porcini, look for pale colored stems with light brown caps. The dried porcini should also have a light mushroom aroma rather than a yeast like smell. It is an unwritten rule that you do not mix cheese with seafood, spicy dishes, or mushroom based pastas but I like a little grated Parmesan cheese on this pasta.
Deborah Mele 2011
- 2 Ounces Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 6 Ounces Fresh Mushrooms (Portobello, Crimini), Chopped
- 2 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Pureed Tomatoes
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley
- Salt & PepperRed Pepper Flakes
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Pound Dried Short Pasta
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Soak the dried porcini in 1 cup of warm water for 10 minutes.
- Drain the porcini and chop coarsely, retaining the mushroom soaking liquid.
- Strain the liquid and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan and add the chopped fresh mushrooms, minced garlic, and rehydrated porcini mushrooms.
- Cook until the mushrooms are golden brown and soft, then add the tomato sauce, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Stir in the fresh parsley and butter and keep warm.
- Cook the pasta until it is al dente.
- Drain, and add have of the sauce to the pot.
- Stir to coat pasta well and then divide the pasta into 4 individual pasta bowls.
- Top with another scoop of the sauce, and serve, offering the grated Parmesan cheese at the table.