We shared photos of this fettuccine with porcini mushrooms on social media and our inbox imploded, everyone wanted the recipe.
Well, we do love a good white sauce and porcini are delicious regardless if they’re dried, frozen, or at their peak freshness in the fall so here you go!
How To Find Good Porcini
Searching for high-quality porcini mushrooms can be challenging. They can be hit or miss because they can be very strong or quite delicate and this can completely change the flavors and depth of your dish.
We purchase them fresh in the fall when they're in season. We buy them dried a little later in the season. While we don’t have a favorite brand, we do try to stick to porcini from places we know or from a local market.
The U.S. has some really great fresh porcini but when they're out of season you can also find dried ones from Italy at your local Italian market. Make sure to check the back of the label to see the country of origin.
If you can't find them or they're out of your budget, replace them with another type. For example, fresh chanterelle are available a large part of the year and make a great substitute.
Great places to find are are your local high end market. They also often have packs of mixed fungi which are super fun to experiment with in pastas.
In Calabria, Italy we’re a short drive from the mountainous region of Sila, a national park. The area has incredible fungi, but the porcini in particular are truly out of this world!
Mushroom foraging is a very big hobby or past time in Italy and Giuseppe's parents are experts. With his mom's incredibly good luck we usually leave the mountains with a huge basket of fresh fungi.
On the days when our luck is down we stop by the Official Mushroom Forager’s home (we don’t know his name but know his address) and he always seems to have a bag of something delicious and fresh for us to take home.
If you aren't familiar with fresh porcini, they're huge! In fact, they can weigh up to 1kg and be as big as your head. They’re super meaty and have such a unique taste, there’s not anything quite like them.
In order to enjoy them throughout the year, we wash, cut, and freeze them. But when fresh aren't available we use dried.
We usually use dried porcini for risotto and baked dishes. Then use fresh for dishes like pasta because of the texture. However, if you only have dried use them. This recipe will still be delicious, the texture will just be slightly different.
Plus with dried you get the added bonus of mushroom water which you can save and use later or use add to the pasta water.
When working with dried porcini make sure to allow them to soak for long enough. Often times if you shorten the soaking process it can create an uneven texture and some pieces can be chewy. Plus the longer you soak, the more concentrated the soaking liquid becomes.
Related: How to Rehydrate Mushrooms
How To Cook Porcini
This fettuccine recipe is so good, we keep coming back it every few weeks regardless of the time of year. It's super important not to overcook the porcini or they will become chewy.
Avoid overcooking them by removing the pan from the heat or even the mushrooms from the pan with a slotted spoon.
Add extra virgin olive oil, butter, and garlic to a medium-large pan and place on low heat. Once the cloves are golden blonde remove them. Add the mushrooms and increase heat to high. Cook for three minutes, stirring regularly.
Add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Remove pan from heat and add finely chopped parsley. The sauce is done.
Butter (And Other Dairy)
This is the first pasta recipe we’ve ever shared that calls for butter. In southern Italy, most people don’t use butter, not even for baking or in risotto.
The rivalry of extra virgin olive oil vs butter (re: Italian vs French) runs deep, however, as the delightful Elizabeth Minchilli says we are “equal opportunity fat consumers”. So yes we use butter.
Lastly, other recipes similar to this call for cream. Let’s not insult our fungi friends by dousing them in liquid dairy. We love milk and cream, but this isn’t the time or place for either. Let the fungi have their moment to shine in all of their delicate glory.
How to Make Fettuccine with Porcini Mushrooms
*Do not throw out the soaking liquid or pasta water*
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt to taste. Cut the mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Heat a medium-large pan on medium heat and add olive oil, garlic, and butter.
When the cloves look golden remove from heat. Add the mushrooms, cook, and season. Then add the fettuccine to the boiling water. Fettuccine cook really fast so you have to be quick.
Add the pasta to the pan first if the pan is very hot, then add some pasta water. Stir continuously and add pasta water as needed. Remove from heat, then add cheese and plate!
Recommended olive oil pairing: The Lina
The Lina olive oil pairs well with mushrooms and lends incredible depth to this dish!
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