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Picture of HOW TO: Pasta ai funghi porcini
One day, while living in Florence (Italy), I went together with some italian friends to the woods in Tuscany, where I learnt lots about this delicious type of funghi called "Funghi Porcini".

We picked some, went to my friend's house, and there we cooked some pasta with our hand-collected funghi. Before coming back to Argentina, I bought some chianti wine and dried funghi porcini (which costs about 100 euro/kg o: in Italy) and now, back in my home country, I made a special 100%-Italian lunch for me and my family. Let me share my easy-but-great recipe with you!!
 
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Step 1: Ingredients

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As you may know, Italians are used to eating a "primo piato" (ie first dish, containing usually pasta, rice, or soup) and a "secondo piato" (ie second dish, usually some kind of meat or salad). Well, if you're going to serve primo and secondo, then the following amounts are ok for 4 people. Instead, if you'll be serving only one dish, the given amounts will be ok for only 2 persons:

  • 500 grams of some kind of pasta. The shape of the pasta may be of your choice (in this example I'm using fusilli). As for the grain, I recomend you use durum wheat semolina since this is the one used by italian.
  • 100 grams of butter
  • 100 grams of cream
  • 1/2 cups of white wine (I used chianti red wine, and it was perfect, but white wine should be equal or better, not worst...)
  • 40 grams of dried funghi porcini (this is the same as 350 grams of fresh funghi)
  • One or two garlic teeths (smashed, exact amount depends of your taste)
  • Some parsley
  • Some salt, pepper and broth

Step 2: Timing!!!

The "italian" preparation of most pasta-containing dishes consists in cooking the pasta and the sauce separately, and mixing them at the end, so as to finish the cooking of the pasta while it's in contact with the sauce (Note that durum wheat pasta does not over-cook easily, so this makes the protocol easier, you'll see).

It takes about 10 minutes for the durum wheat pasta to be cooked after we have put it in boiling water. Add 10 minutes before the water starts boiling, and it will take a total time of 20 minutes to cook it.

On the other hand, we need about 30 minutes to prepare the mushrooms sauce.

  • If our mushrooms are dried:
We need to hydrate them before using them, so that's 30 minutes more. Do this by putting them in water (1 cup of water every 40 grams of dried mushrooms).

Step 3: Start with the sauce

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Let's start preparing the sauce:

  • Melt the butter inside a pan at moderate fire. Meanwhile, cut the mushrooms in small pieces (0.5 cm wide and 2 to 4 cm long will be ok)
  • When the butter is liquified and starting to boil, add the cut mushrooms together garlic, parsley, wine, and salt, pepper and broth to your taste. Personally, if I use broth then I don't put salt nor pepper at all, and viceversa. Of course the fire should be on.
  • Let the wine evaporate before moving on to the next step.

Step 4: Boil water for the pasta and go on with the sauce

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After the wine has evaporated, you can go on with the sauce. But stop!! Remember timing? Well, at this point we can put water to boil, and keep "a sensor lock" (haha, to much star trek) on the water, because you'll have to start cooking the pasta as soon as the water starts boiling. AAhhh!!! An extra suggestions: add to the water a small spoon of salt every 100 grams of pasta you'll cook.

Now, back to the sauce: little by little, add some of the water in which you hydrated the mushrooms and let it be boiled. I suggest you add a small amount, stir untill it's evaporated, and a little more, stir again, and so on. When you are done with this, you can add the cream, mix it, and boil a bit more untill you get the density you like (usually, italians prepare a very thick sauce).

As for timing:
  • if the pasta is ready before you have the mushrooms sauce, you can leave the pasta in hot water for a while (it won't give much trouble and it won't get soft if the extra time is only a few minutes).
  • if the sauce is ready before the pasta, you can turn on the fire, and heat the sauce again right before adding it to the pasta, when it's already cooked.

Step 5: Pasta and Funghi be joined

Picture of Pasta and Funghi be joined
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When the pasta is cooked and the sauce done, take the pasta out of the water, and mix the pasta and the sauce inside some recipient which you can heat (you may use a pan or whatever). Cook for 2 or 3 minutes while mixing vigorously (ehem... trying not to break the pasta too much!!!).

Turn on the fire, and... ready to eat!!!
bastien.brenu3 months ago

really good....and even better if you add some crushed wallnuts

kwannet3 years ago
I made the pasta and sauce exactly as described, and it was absolutely lovely! I used 350 grams fresh mixed mushrooms and one tbs porcini powder. Highly recommended recipe!