This month Jacqueline, the author of vegetarian food blog Tinned Tomatoes kindly invited me to take part in the November edition of Pasta Please, a monthly cooking competition, hosted by various foodie bloggers, which revolves around cooking a specifically themed pasta dish. This month Jacqueline chose mushrooms as the theme so I thought what better way to celebrate the end of the porcini season than by making a variation on the classic porcini e pappardelle. Rather than opting for the classic sautéed porcini version, I decided to really go to town on the mushrooms by making a wild mushroom cream to stir through the pasta with some fried porcini pieces for an extra intense flavour. I am well aware that fresh porcini are not the easiest ingredient to come by in the UK so I have also included a variation using dried porcini for the cream and fresh chestnut mushrooms which I’m sure will pack just as much of a punch!
Pappardelle alla Crema di Funghi Porcini
- 400g pappardelle pasta
- 200g fresh porcini (or 30g dried soaked in hot water)
- 150g chestnut mushrooms (or 250g if substituting fresh porcini)
- 150g button mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stick
- 250g grated parmesan cheese
- Olive oil
- Handful of fresh parsley
If using dried porcini soak in enough hot water just to cover them and set to one side. Roughly chop the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and gently fry in a very generous glug of olive oil for about 15 minutes or until soft but without colour.
Add the fresh or soaked porcini, reserving the hot porcini water for later, 150g of chestnut mushrooms and 150g of button mushrooms. Gently fry for another few minutes until the mushrooms have wilted down.
Remove from the heat and puree the mushrooms with an electric hand blender, adding milk or the porcini water until you obtain a silky cream-like consistency. Return to the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, taste and season with lots of salt and pepper.
Cut the remaining porcini or chestnut mushrooms into chunky pieces and fry off in olive oil adding salt and pepper to taste. All that’s left to do is to cook the pappardelle until it is al dente, drain, reserving a little of the cooking water and return to the pan.
Stir in the mushroom cream, fried mushrooms and if needed, add a little of the pasta water until you obtain a silky consistency. Serve with finely chopped fresh parsley. Buon appetito!