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roller coaster

Recipe: porcini tagliatelle


Hello my dearest readers! As many of you know, our lovable goofy Yuki came to us through the good people of Rezdawg Rescue. They are currently holding their Rezdawg Rescue Pawliday Auction through 8 pm MT, December 6, 2020 to raise funds so they may continue to rescue unwanted dogs and cats from the Four Corners region, educate the community, and run spay and neuter clinics. I have donated three fine art photographic prints to the auction. Two have already sold, but there is one still accepting bids: I encourage you to browse the auction’s selection of artwork, jewelry, services, and other great offerings to help support this wonderful nonprofit organization that saved our sweet Yuki. Thank you! -jen


In the past three months, the leaves turned green to gold and stayed for a longer than usual season of beautiful fall colors. But a pall of smoke hung over our local mountains as wildlands burned around the state. October was our month of burning despite a summer of fires. Severe drought, warm temperatures, lack of precipitation, and windy conditions drove multiple wildfires to record-breaking sizes in a period of 24 hours. The East Troublesome Fire even jumped the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park. Two fires sprang up in our local foothills. Evacuation zones came within a few miles of our home in Nederland. We had our essentials, including our ballots, packed and ready to go for a week while others were forced to evacuate their homes. I wept over photos and web cam footage of wildlife fleeing the flames, homes left in ruins, and the most dedicated fire crews working through a pandemic under apocalyptic red skies.

We are not unaccustomed to wildfire threat, but this was surreal.

aspens reflected on the lake

a window of blue sky between periods of hazy smoke

a setting sun paints the underbelly of smoke plumes from the east troublesome fire

We waited impatiently for snow, and not just because we wanted to ski. The two largest wildfires in Colorado recorded history (East Troublesome and Cameron Peak) were separated by a mere 10 miles and on the brink of merging. Relief arrived in late October and we were able to unpack our evacuation bags. [NOTE: We always have an evacuation box ready.]

Meanwhile, Neva had developed an odd growth on the side of her back foot and we asked our vet to check it out. It was melanoma, but not invasive and most likely benign. Because Neva is so active, we agreed it was best to have it removed. As I type, Neva is sleeping off the anesthesia at the vet and we are scheduled to pick her up in an hour. Her procedure went well and she had her teeth cleaned and nails trimmed to boot!

everyone rejoiced in the arrival of snow

a mellow backcountry ski over thanksgiving

thanksgiving plates for the pups

I had grand plans to share a recipe celebrating summer’s last hurrah and maybe a couple of autumny dishes. But now we’re barreling toward winter and it feels like this year is flushing down a whirlpool headed for the sewer, where 2020 belongs. And for those who were concerned over the prolonged silence on the blog, you can always check my Instagram (@jenyuphoto) to see if I am indeed alive.

At the start of the pandemic, a friend inspired me to make porcini pasta. I don’t mean pasta served with porcini mushrooms, but ground up dried porcini or porcini powder mixed into the pasta dough. I may not have foraged many porcini this summer (I think we may have found five in total – a meager showing for what has been a craptastic year), but I do have a solid supply of dried porcini from previous seasons. Even if you don’t have your own private stash of dried porcini, they can be found in grocery stores and gourmet food shops.

olive oil, salt, eggs, dried porcini, flour

a coffee grinder or spice grinder works well to powder dried porcini

blend the flour, porcini powder, and salt together

Some folks like to mix their pasta on a flat work surface, but I prefer to do so in a large wide mixing bowl because it contains the mess and is easy cleanup. Plus, I don’t lose my ingredients to the floor or the countertop (it’s happened…). I like kneading the dough in bowl for the same reason. Once the dough is mixed, knead until it is smooth and tacky, but not sticky. Wrap it in plastic and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

pour the eggs and olive oil into a well in the center of the flour

mix from the center, gradually incorporating more flour

knead the dough until smooth

I used to love the idea of rolling pasta out by hand until I actually did it. I didn’t make pasta from scratch for years and forgot what a pain it was to roll it out by hand until I did it again. It’s not a quick task. A few years ago I splurged on a pasta machine as I figured this would remove the impediment to my pasta ambitions. And while it did reduce my dread of pasta projects, it was still a time-consuming activity. More so when one was hungry. Then I acquired the motor attachment for my pasta machine and pasta making has become more joy than work because I can focus on the fun stuff and we can eat before we’re falling asleep. Winning. All this to say: roll your pasta out however you like.

cut the dough into quarters

start on the widest setting

fold in thirds

roll on widest setting, then incrementally make thinner with each pass

I’ve made enough pasta to know that we like our tagliatelle on setting 7 for the Atlas Marcato, which is 0.85 mm in thickness. If you have a different brand, look up their thickness/setting chart. I chose tagliatelle because it’s the widest cut my machine offers (a quarter inch or 6.5 mm in width). To make pappardelle – a favorite of mine – I roll up a sheet of pasta and cut 3/4 to 1 inch widths with a knife. Once the pasta is cut, I toss the strands with a little flour and set them out on a baking sheet. Alternatively, you can drape them in a single layer across any makeshift drying rack to dry or just hang out until you are done making pasta and ready to cook.

a sheet of porcini pasta

cut into tagliatelle

pasta ready for boiling

Since this was made and photographed in the spring, I combined the pasta with seasonal asparagus and strips of prosciutto. Now that it is December, I’d probably opt for a beef short rib red wine ragù with dried porcini mushrooms which have a more intensely umami flavor than their fresh counterparts. The good news is that you can serve porcini pasta up any way you like. It is earthy, funky, nutty, savory, and amazing.

porcini tagliatelle with asparagus and prosciutto

a joyful bundle of flavor

Porcini Tagliatelle
[print recipe]
from Food52

10 oz. all-purpose flour
0.75 oz porcini powder
pinch salt
4 eggs
30 ml (2 tbsps) olive oil

Stir the flour, porcini powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the eggs and olive oil to the well. Beat the eggs with a fork, incorporating a little flour at a time until it becomes a shaggy dough. Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic and rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Unwrap the dough and cut it into quarters. Work with one piece while the others remain covered with plastic.

Roll the dough to about 0.85 mm thickness (setting 7 on my Atlas Marcato pasta machine) for tagliatelle. Make it thinner or thicker to your liking. I first flatten the dough with a rolling pin to get it to a reasonable thickness for the pasta machine. Next I run the pasta through the pasta machine on its thickest setting (0). I fold it in thirds, turn it 90°, and run it through the pasta machine on setting 0 two more times without folding it in thirds again. Then I turn the setting to 1 and roll the pasta through, and turn it to setting 2 and roll the pasta, and continue rolling once for each setting through setting 7. Cut your pasta to the desired thickness or run it through your pasta cutting attachment (mine is for tagliatelle, about 0.25 inches or 6.5 mm).

Toss the pasta with flour to prevent it from sticking. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Makes 1 lb. of fresh pasta.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

porcini butter porcini salt handmade pappardelle chanterelle ravioli with sage brown butter

10 nibbles at “roller coaster”

  1. Jill Hyde says:

    Just a delightful looking dish. Yummy! Sure hope Neva is recovering nicely. I just heard yesterday that the fires are finally 100% contained. Maybe my reactive airway will improve now. Stay well! xo, Jill

  2. Pey-Lih says:

    Hand-made noodles looks fantastic! Can we substitute with dried shiitake mushroom? I can pulverize with my Vitamix. Can you freeze extra pasta? And did you dry your mushrooms with a food dehydrator? Just curious. Thanks for the motivation to do something different.

    Btw, have you ever thought of making pumpkin gnocchi?

  3. Mary-Karen Euler says:

    How creative! I’d never considered such a thing, but am eager to try it. Am grateful for your postings Jen (I’m not an Instagrammer) as I always find them uplifting, beautiful, thought-provoking and packed with deliciousness in all forms!

  4. Terri says:

    Jen, so good to hear from you again. I was becoming a little worried one of you or your parents may have fallen ill – so good! Sounds like all is well. Will keep your instagram site in mind. Fires can be terrifying and I have family in northern and southern CA. I watched the Cal fire site like a freak. I am old. My years in emergency preparedness kept me dogging my CA family to prepare Go-packs. Been through lots of procedures with many dogs and glad to hear Neva is doing well. So odd to feel like I know someone I have never met and even know their dog’s names. Wish I was motivated enough to make my own pasta – I am still working on making a yeast cardamom coffee cake.

  5. Catherine says:

    Now I know what I’m going to do with a big mason jar of dried morels. And also plan on finally learning to forage for them here in Oregon in the spring – all those hundreds of thousands of burned forest will probably produce an unbelievable amount of morels, which feels like a very small pleasure against the disaster of the September fires here.

  6. Lisa says:

    Glad you are back!

    I hope Neva is recovering nicely at home.

  7. Trolleira says:

    So happy, you are back! I really was missing you writing about your dogs and mountains and your recipes!

    Big hug from Brazil!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I couldn’t be more pleased to have won one of your photographs for RezDawg :) my own RezDawg pup agrees. Thank you for doing this. I won the beautiful fall foliage shot and would happily purchase your others if they become available again in the future. My sister and I have adored and followed your adventures from afar for years.

  9. hungry dog says:

    Jen, I am so glad you are safe from the wildfires–I live in California so I relate to how terrifying it is–and that Neva’s surgery went well. Wishing you as peaceful a holiday season as you can have.

    Hungry Dog

  10. jenyu says:

    Jill – Neva is doing great! Thanks :)

    Pey-Lih – I bet you could make that substitution. And yes, extra pasta can be frozen. Just make sure they freeze spread out on a baking sheet first to avoid sticking, then you can package them in a freezer bag. I did dry my porcini in a food dehydrator. Never made pumpkin gnocchi before.

    MK – xo

    Terri – Sadly, I think people in California are more accustomed to the fire season than we are. Always good to have a go-pack and a plan for emergencies (especially since it’s also earthquake country).

    Catherine – Ahhhh Oregon, you already have such good morel grounds. My aunt lives in Bend and has them growing in her yard!

    Lisa – Thanks, and she is! :)

    Trolleira – xxoo

    Elizabeth – Thanks again for bidding (and winning!) the print and for rescuing a RezDawg! <3

    hungry dog - xxoo!!

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