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hard-earned calories

Recipe: fresh porcini mushroom pasta

Hey kids, it’s August. You know what that means, don’t you? It means we’re that much closer to winter. I admit that I’ve had moments lately when I lapse into memories of gliding through soft champagne snow. I’m excited. July is the hump for me and now we’re on our way to winter. That’s not to say that I’m done with summer. Truth is, I’ve been enjoying the hell out of summer.


cloud front overhead

mammata sunset

double whammy bloom: red cereus and night-blooming cereus!

a hungry marmot, mowing down the plants

jeremy identifies distant peaks we’ve climbed on south arapaho peak’s mountain dial



I’ve spent nearly every day outside in the mountains – hiking, trail running, and… foraging. Yes, I am a little obsessed with finding porcinis (boletus edulis). It’s not just the finding that I love, but feeling like I am really getting to know these mountains. I mostly nab a few to give to my friend and foraging mentor, Wendy, because I don’t want to deal with drying them as I have enough going on over here as it is. Oddly enough, she’s more than happy to take them off my hands, so we are in essence a match made in heaven!

lovely little porcinis for my friend

i saved a few for dinner



Wendy always asks me, “Are you sure you don’t want any? Just take some!” and I always said no, until one day I hauled enough that I could siphon off a few of the bouchons – the smaller, pristine (i.e. not wormy), champagne cork-shaped porcinis. They are the cutest things ever. Wendy was thrilled and called me a dork for even asking if it was okay. I was inspired to make a recipe she described on her Facebook page because it sounded so perfectly delectable.

fresh pasta, white wine, butter, cream, lemon, garlic, parsley, and porcinis

slice the porcinis

lovely, perfect



A word on cleaning porcinis: I discussed this with Wendy and she recommends using a mushroom brush – nothing else. Don’t wipe them with a damp cloth and for chrissakes don’t wash them in water! Keep them as dry as possible. Unlike the dried version of porcini mushrooms, fresh porcinis have a most delicate flavor that should neither be diluted nor overpowered. That means don’t be heavy handed with the garlic or the cheese, and serve it with a light, crisp white wine (unoaked, please). The first step is to cook the mushrooms dry in a wide, shallow pan. This gets some of the water out and concentrates the flavor. Don’t stir-fry them, just let them sit for a few minutes, then when they release from the pan (give it a nudge, they’ll move when they’re good and ready), flip them over.

set in a wide shallow pan

cook until the juices bubble forth



The mushrooms will begin to turn a light golden color, and this is when you should add a few pats of good butter and a little smash of minced garlic. Remember, not too much garlic (but go for it on the butter!). Let those mushrooms start to brown and then add just enough white wine (I used an Argentine Torrontes) to cover the bottom of the pan. Stir up those bits of mushroom that have browned onto the pan and let it simmer for a minute. Then add the cream (cream and butter – hallelujah!) and the cooked pasta.

butter and garlic

white wine

cream

pasta



Give everything a good toss to ensure the pasta is coated with the sauce. Simmer the sauce to the consistency of your liking (a thin sauce should be the goal). Squeeze a little lemon juice and sprinkle salt and pepper over the pan. Stir it all in. Before serving, garnish with a dash of grated Pecorino Romano and some minced, fresh parsley.

lemon

grate some cheese



The word that comes to mind when I eat this dish is delicate. Everything is there to showcase the porcini in its true glory. And it is a most lovely reward for the effort of crawling around the mountains finding these gems.

rockin’ the porcinis



Fresh Porcini Mushroom Pasta
[print recipe]
from Wendy

1.5 lbs. fresh porcini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 tbsps unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1/4 cup white wine (something bright and unoaked)
1 lb. fettucine, cooked
1/2 cup heavy cream
squeeze of lemon juice to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (to taste)
parsley, minced

To clean your porcini mushrooms, don’t use water or a damp cloth. A mushroom brush will do to gently remove any dirt or debris from your porcinis. Try to use the smaller bouchons or slightly larger mushrooms that haven’t become wormed out. Slice the mushrooms into 1/4-inch thick slices. Set them in a wide, shallow pan over high heat to dry them out, flipping after a few minutes. Eventually liquid will begin to bubble forth as they begin to turn slightly golden. Add the butter and garlic to the pan and let the mushrooms cook until they begin to brown. Pour enough wine to cover the bottom of the pan and stir up the browned bits in the pan. Let simmer for a minute or so. Add the cream and the wet, cooked pasta to the pan. Stir to coat and let simmer to a thin sauce. Squeeze a little lemon juice (to your liking) over the pasta and season with good salt and fresh ground pepper. Serve with a sprinkle of grated cheese and minced parsley. Serves 4.

22 nibbles at “hard-earned calories”

  1. Val says:

    My mouth is watering…literally. We are going camping this weekend and I am sitting here thinking about how I can bust this out Saturday night because I don’t know if I can wait until Monday to try it!

  2. Babs says:

    I’m with Val on this one, always looking for new things to cook on gas or the barbie and this one sounds delish ^-^

  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    This pasta looks too good to be true! Yum!

  4. Erin says:

    Yum! I love mushrooms and pasta together. I also think it is awesome that you foraged these!

  5. Gio of The Hungry Giant says:

    the pasta looks really really good. as always, your photographs are insanely awesome. :D

  6. Kristin says:

    Goodness but that sounds just about perfect!

  7. megan says:

    foraging for mushrooms?! that is AWESOME! pasta looks delicious, too!!

  8. Diane, A Broad says:

    How beautiful this dish is! I’ll definitely be making some for a single-girl dinner soon.

  9. Shut Up & Cook says:

    This is a dish I would absolutely love, and fortunately for me in Seattle there’s a great shop that sells fresh pasta daily making this a breeze!

  10. Lisa says:

    Thanks, Jen, for the delicious dish. It is one of the advantages to live near you so I can taste some of your cookings. I absoletely love this one b/c : a) I love pasta; b) I love mushrooms. But the procini mushroom is top them all.

  11. Abbe @ This is How I Cook says:

    I am so jealous! Have you ever tried grilling the large ones over oak like they do in Italy? I have never had fresh ones to work with and am guessing your “work” paid off royally. Looks truly mouthwatering.

  12. Sini says:

    Oh how I love porcinis! Especially if they are self picked. We have so many growing in the woods here in Finland. They are like our gold :) This dish looks utterly delicious. Have to make it as soon as I get my hands on some fresh porcinis.

  13. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence says:

    I just had fresh porcinis for the first time this year. Divine! This looks sooooo good.

  14. megan says:

    btw…i was looking at some of your cakes (i really want to make that pistachio / choco one) and they all look awesome! can i assume that you are a FT food blogger…? otherwise, you are superwoman who also has another job…!

    oh yeah! question about the choco pistachio cake- it calls for red raspberry vinegar..do ya think I could substitute with apple cider vinegar? o.o thanks!

  15. Olga Ronquillo says:

    I love pasta, and this one looks really good… I am wondering if i can use portobello mushroom instead or the porcini.. Tks!!

  16. jenyu says:

    Val – ;)

    Babs – it’s super awesome!

    Katrina – I think cream and mushrooms and butter and wine are a hard combo to beat.

    Erin – thanks!

    Gio – you’re too kind xo

    Kristin – it was LOVELY!

    megan – yeah, I never thought I would forage for mushrooms, and here I am… foraging mushrooms ;)

    Diane – woohoo!

    Shut Up & Cook – mmmm, lucky you. I love Seattle. Food heaven.

    Lisa – I’ll have to make some more before you head back east :)

    Abbe – Wow, I’ve never heard of that, but it sounds fantastic. Might have to try it! Thanks for the tip!

    Sini – So cool that you have them there. The dish is especially good when you’ve picked the mushrooms yourself.

    Brandon – yay!!!

    megan – I am not a full-time food blogger. If I were, I’d jump off a bridge ;) I’m a photographer. I’m guessing you *could* sub apple cider, but I think if you can find red raspberry, to do so.

    Olga – yes, I think it’s fair to substitute other mushrooms if you can’t get your hands on fresh porcinis!

  17. Dana says:

    Of course I’m reading this as we are getting ready to pack up and leave mushroom heaven, aka the Pacific Northwest. How many times I have bought mushrooms from the local (amazing) forager. I know I am heading to produce heaven but I sure will miss those wild mushrooms.

  18. megan says:

    thanks! i’ll try to get red raspberry vinegar..maybe whole foods will have it! i am guessing it would be well used for vinaigrette in the future.

  19. megan says:

    and i have much respect for you!! FT photos AND you get to cook and bake a bunch. what a sweet job :D

  20. Xilef says:

    This recipe looks amazing!! I have never tried Porcini mushrooms and I’ve never seen them in the supermarkets here in FL. I have to try the Wholefoods Supermarket. Anyway, I substituted the porcinis for portabello and shitake mushrooms. It is a very delicious recipe, Thank You!!!!

  21. Maria Morales says:

    My husband and I recently went mushroom hunting and gathered a basket of porcini mushrooms. This being our first time eating them, we researched so many recipes. We came across your blog here and decided this was it.

    This was the most AMAZING dish I have had in a long time. We were licking our plates dry. It was delectable.

    For those of you interested in trying porcinis or this dish, I highly recommend it.

  22. Two good recipes for your porcini | Arizona Mushroom Hunters' Forum says:

    [...] tried her recipe for Fresh Porcini Mushrooms and Pasta, using cheese and spinach tortellini instead of noodles because that’s what I had on hand. [...]

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