Posts Tagged ‘Porcini’

Baked Pappardelle with Pancetta & Porcini

What a delicious hug of a recipe, a sort of fancy baked pasta. The crusty baked top, cheese, mushrooms and smoky ham are enough to make two people very happy. We also learned that even after many years of perfect béchamel you’re never to old to balls it up and have to start again. It was worth it!

Wine Suggestion: with all the earthy porcini and the rich sauce with Parmesan this begs for a Nebbiolo with a little bit of age so you get some of the leathery, mushroomy characters emerging. Ideally pick a Barolo or Barbaresco from a good vintage, but equally joyful with something like the Pira Luigi Langhe Nebbiolo which also has lovely youthful morello cherry fruit with hints of roses and truffles to compliment the pasta. Significantly, and importantly, Nebbiolo also has high tannins to work with the rich proteins in the Parmesan and high acidity to cut through the rich cheese, pancetta and butter.

Baked pappardelle with pancetta & porcini – serves 2

  • 500ml milk
  • 20g dried porcini
  • 40g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 100g pappardelle pasta
  • 50g thinly sliced pancetta, cut in 2cm pieces
  • 4-5 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas mark 6.

Warm the milk in a saucepan and soak the porcini in it for about 10 minutes. Drain the milk through a sieve over a bowl, pressing lightly on the porcini with the back of a ladle to extract all the milk. Set the mushrooms aside.

Rinse out the pan, then use to melt the butter. Tip in the flour, stir and cook gently for a few minutes without letting it colour. Pour in the porcini-infused milk and whisk vigorously until smooth. Cook over a very low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, for about 10 minutes or until thickened (not too thick). Season lightly with salt and generously with black pepper. Cover and set aside.

Cook the pasta in lots of salty boiling water until a little underdone. Drain, tip into a large bowl and mix with the sauce, porcini & pancetta pieces. Tip the mixture into a lightly-buttered dish and tap down lightly. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of Parmesan over the top and bake for 30-40 minutes or until bubbling and browned. Serve with the remaining cheese.

(Original recipe from The Good Cook by Simon Hopkinson, Random House, 2011.)


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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.)

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Marscapone & Marsala Fettucini

A rich and indulgent pasta dish and quite a hefty portion but as Nigella points out there is little point in leaving 50g of fettuccine in the box for another time!

Fettuccine with Mushrooms, Marsala & Mascarpone – serves 2

  • 15g dried porcini
  • 60ml Marsala
  • 125g mascarpone
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley plus more to serve
  • 250g  fettuccine (or tagliatelle)
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • small clove of garlic, crushed
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan

Measure the porcini into a very small saucepan, cover with the Marsala and 60ml water, put on the heat and bring to the boil. As soon as it starts to boil, turn off the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Put the mascarpone into a bowl with a good grating of fresh nutmeg and ground pepper. When the porcini have finished soaking, strain the liquid into the bowl and fork together to combine.

Squeeze the porcini out over the bowl, then chop on a board along with the parsley.

Cook the fettuccine in a large pan of boiling salted water.

Melt the butter in a large pan and add the garlic, stirring over the heat for a minute, then add the porcini and parsley mixture and cook for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the mascarpone and stir until the sauce bubbles, then turn the heat off.

Reserve a small cup of the pasta cooking water before draining and tipping the pasta into the sauce. Add a little pasta water to loosen as it will thicken on standing.

Add the Parmesan and check the seasoning before serving with some extra parsley.

(Original recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Nigellissima, Chatto & Windus, 2012).

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Because we’re not blessed by abundant fresh Porcini like the Italians we need to be a little inventive to capture the flavours and effect of a genuinely Italian recipe; this one delivers the goods in spades. If you find some fresh porcini grab them with both hands but otherwise try this mixture of wild mushrooms and a handful of dried porcini to boost the flavour.

Funghi Trifolati (Sautéed Mushrooms with Parsley & Garlic) – to serve 4 as a side dish

  • 25g dried porcini
  • 500g fresh mushrooms, use a mixture of wild and cultivated
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Put the dried porcini in a bowl, cover with hot water and leave for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, clean the fresh mushrooms – wiping them with kitchen paper should be sufficient rather than washing them. Cut them into thick slices.

Lift the porcini out of the water and cut into small pieces.

Finely chop the shallots, put them in a large sauté pan and sauté with the olive oil and butter until soft. Add the garlic, half the parsley, a little salt and lots of pepper. Cook, stirring, for a minute and then add the porcini. Cook for 5 minutes or so and then throw in the fresh mushrooms and some parsley. Cook over a fairly high heat for about 10 minutes, making sure mushrooms don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. There should be very little liquid left by the end of the cooking.

Sprinkle with the last bit of parsley before serving.

(Original recipe by Anna Del Conte, Gastronomy of Italy, Pavilion Books, 2001.)

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