This is another wonderful ingredient of this season 🙂 I love porcini and I love all the wild mushrooms in general. I was lucky to grow up in a family in the Italian countryside, by the mountains, so my father and uncles always picked up wild mushrooms (and in the last 2 days my father posted on Facebook photos of at least 6-7 Kg of porcini that he found, that’s why I felt the desire to go looking for them at the market! 😀 ). By us when we say “mushrooms” we mean exclusively wild mushrooms, we never buy champignon and other farmed mushrooms, if we refer to those we don’t call them mushrooms but champignon, because they are simply another thing 😀 and honestly there is no comparison, the perfume and the taste of a fresh wild porcino it’s unique.
And this morning we were lucky to find some very nice porcini at the local market, so I didn’t miss them 🙂
In Italy we use to cook them very simple, usually with fresh pasta or in a Risotto as I already showed (but the caps are very good fried too). Like all the good quality ingredients they don’t need many flavors to enhance them, “keep it simple” it’s always the best choice to fully enjoy their flavor.
A thing that some recipes suggest but that I never use with porcini mushrooms is the cooking cream, actually I almost never like it because I think it’s easier to cover flavors rather than enhancing flavors with it. It would make the recipe also heavier.
You can use some industrial long pasta too, but the tradition of this recipe suggests always fresh pasta, and that fits definitely better 🙂 then someone prefer to use extra virgin olive oil rather than butter, but at least in northern Italy butter it’s usually preferred in this case, and even if I mostly use extra virgin olive oil I also prefer butter with the porcini. But that’s up to you, both options are fine.
Let’s see how to make this wonderful but simple recipe! (actually this sauce is more or less what we also use as a side dish and called “porcini trifolati”)
INGREDIENTS (4 people):
For the pasta (it will be about 450-480 g):
- 300 g flour
- 3 eggs
For the sauce:
- 500-600 g of fresh porcini mushrooms
- 50-60 g of good butter
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley
- First of all start preparing the dough for the pasta: take a bowl, sift the flour, add the eggs and start to mix all together. When the dough starts to get a shape pour it on the table and work it some minutes until is smooth and homogeneous. Then cover it with a plastic wrap and let it rest for at least half an hour.
- During this time you can carefully clean the porcini: don’t wash them, NEVER. Unless you want to kill them and lose most of their flavor 🙂 brush their stipe/stem with a small knife or a brush to remove the possible ground, and carefully clean the cap by using a wet kitchen paper. Remove also the possible ruined parts.
- When you have cleaned the porcini you can cut them in slices, but keep the stipes/stems divided from the caps: we will have to cook the firsts a bit longer.
- Now take a large pan, heat the butter and add the garlic cloves. Then add the stipes/stems of the porcini first and cook them at medium/low heat for about 5 minutes. Then add the caps and cook them together for other 5-6 minutes about, it will be enough, don’t overcook them: in this way they will keep a nice texture and they will not be too much soft. Season also with salt. Then when you see that they are cooked switch off the heat and keep it there, covered. Remove the garlic.
- Now you can make the Pappardelle (they are larger tagliatelle, basically), in 10 minutes you can make it: take the dough and divide it in 3-4 pieces and while you work one piece keep the others covered with a towel for example. Flatten the dough in sheets of about 2 mm thick, I used the manual pasta machine until the second-to-last option (fold the pasta sheets some times while rolling it). Then spread enough flour (semolina is better) on each sheet so it will not attach on itself, tightly roll each sheet from short end to short end and cut your “pappardelle” with a knife. Cut them larger than the usual tagliatelle size, about 2 cm large. Then gently separate the “pappardelle” and place them on a tray, with semolina on the bottom.
- Now take a pot and start boiling the water for the pasta. When the water is boiling add salt in it, and then put the pasta to boil. Few minutes are enough, 2-3 usually. When it’s floating it’s ready but give a try first.
- When the pasta is cooked drain it and drop it in the large pan (under which you have switch on again the heat) where there are the porcini. Add the chopped parsley and mix well together (you could also reduce some of the porcini into a cream, I didn’t do it but it’s a good alternative option if you would like to add some creaminess).
- Serve it and enjoy 🙂 I also don’t suggest to add any grated cheese on it, personally I just want to fully taste the porcini.
PS: this recipe is for 4 people, but it’s so good that we ate it in 3 😀 and to make it perfect today there was still a nice warm sun so we could enjoy it in the garden 🙂
And for a special touch you could substitute the parsley with the lesser calamint 🙂 or you could add some broken hazelnut for an extra crunchiness.