From the geniuses at River Café is this deeply delicious and flavoursome pasta which keeps on reprising itself on our menus. We love that the ingredients list is simple and short and yet the dish is packed full of flavour and style. Don’t shy away from the generous quantity of butter – it’s what gives the dish its richness.
We’ve given a separate recipe for the tomato sauce. You will have too much for this recipe but it’s good served as it is with some tagliatelle and freezes well.
Wine suggestion: earthy, medium bodied red wines work well with this and we returned to an old favourite, the very smooth Selvapiana Chianti Rufina which is pure elegance in a glass. Really fine and supple tannins make this sing with a freshness that adds depth to the food.
Penne, tomato and dried porcini – serves 4
- 320g penne
- 40g dried porcini
- 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- 50g Parmesan, grated
- 5 tbsp tomato sauce (see below)
- 100g unsalted butter
- extra virgin olive oil
Soak the porcini in 200ml boiling water for 10 minutes.
Drain the porcini, straining the liquid through muslin or a paper towel, reserving the water. Rinse the porcini and chop coarsely.
In a thick-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter and add the garlic. Add the porcini and fry until soft. Add a little of the porcini liquid and simmer until absorbed. Stir in the parsley. Add the tomato sauce and season.
Cook the penne in plenty of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and stir into the pasta sauce.
Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the Parmesan
Tomato sauce – serves 4
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 x 400g tinned tomatoes
Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan and fry the garlic until soft but not coloured. Add the tomatoes and season. Cook over a medium heat for 20-30 minutes or, until the sauce is very thick and the oil comes to the top.
(Original recipes from Italian Two Easy: Simple Recipes from the London River Cafe by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Random House, 2006.)