TAGLIATELLE WITH MUSHROOM SAUCE / Tagliatelle con Sugo di Funghi
This recipe is originally from Tuscany. “I have adapted an old family recipe to suit the mushrooms that are available in Britain. Admittedly there are more and more species of wild mushrooms in the shops these days, especially during the autumn months, the mushroom season, but they are not equally available in all parts of the country. The other reason why I have adapted the Italian recipe is that the sauce is so good that I want to be able to make it at any time of the year, and not only when the wild mushrooms are in season. The woody, leafy perfume of ceps is given here by the dried porcini, which you can easily buy in Italian delicatessens and many supermarkets. To these you add a selection of cultivated mushrooms for a sweeter flavour and for texture.” Anna Del Conte
- 40 g dried porcini mushrooms
- 450 g mixed fresh cultivated mushrooms: chestnut mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, shiitake
- 35 g unsalted butter
- Good olive oil for cooking
- 1 medium yellow onion, very finely sliced
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 3 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 tbsp plain flour or Italian 00 flour
- 250 ml HOT vegetable stock
- 200 ml medium dry white wine
- about 1/4 of a tsp of ground nutmeg
- 450 g Italian dried egg tagliatelle
- freshly grated vegetarian pecorino cheese, to serve (optional)
- Put the dried porcini in a bowl and cover with very hot water. Set aside to soak for 30 minutes. Scoop out the mushrooms using a perforated spoon and transfer them to a colander. Reserve the liquid for later. Rinse under cold running water and transfer onto kitchen paper. Cover with more paper and pat the porcini dry and chop them finely. Reserve the soaking liquid to allow any grit to settle to the bottom of the bowl.
- Clean the fresh mushrooms with a pastry brush or by wiping them with a clean damp cloth. Dry them with kitchen paper and chop them coarsely.
- In a large saute pan, heat the oil and half of the butter. Once the butter is foaming gently, add the onion, a pinch of salt and cook until the onions are soft. Stir in the garlic and the herbs and sauté for a further minute. Add the tomato purée and cook for 30 seconds. Add the dried porcini, sauté for 5 minutes and then add the fresh mushrooms, stir to mix thoroughly. Sauté over a moderate heat for 5 minutes, turning the mushrooms over and over to insaporire — take up the flavour. Season with a little more salt and with a generous grinding of pepper. Turn the heat down and cook for a further 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a large bowl, cover and keep warm.
- Melt the remaining butter in a large saute pan on a low heat and stir to blend in the flour. Add the stock, stirring constantly and hard until well blended.
- Heat the wine in a microwave for about 30 seconds and add to the butter and stock mixture together with the nutmeg and stir. Add 3 tbsp of the porcini liquid, just enough to add mushroom flavour to the sauce. Continue cooking very gently for about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushroom mixture. Check the seasoning and cook over the lowest possible heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Meanwhile, bring 3 litres of water to the boil, add a tsp of salt and return to the boil. Add the pasta and cook the tagliatelle according to the packet instructions until al dente, stirring occasionally. Drain, but do not overdrain, reserving a cupful of the water.
- Turn half the pasta into a heated bowl and toss with half the mushroom sauce. Cover with the rest of the pasta and mix in the remaining sauce. If the pasta seems too dry, add 2—3 tbsp of the reserved water. Remember that fresh pasta absorbs a lot of liquid while it is sitting in the bowl.
- Serve at once with the grated pecorino cheese (optional).