Fettuccine con Funghi Porcini Recipe
We shared photos of this fettuccine con funghi di porcini on social media and our inbox imploded, everyone wanted the recipe. Well, we do love a good white sauce and porcini mushrooms are delicious regardless if they’re dried, frozen, or at their peak freshness in the fall so here you go!
Fresh Porcini Mushrooms
In Calabria, Italy we’re based just 45 minutes away from the mountainous region on Sila, a national park. Sila has incredible mushrooms, but the porcini are truly out of this world! Lina and Salvatore are expert mushroom forager, and with Lina’s inexplicable good luck she always exits the heavily wooded area with a huge bag of safe to eat funghi.
When we can’t find mushrooms we stop at 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 are familiar with fresh porcini mushrooms just know that they are huge! In fact, they can weigh up to 1kg and be as big as your head. They’re meaty and have such a unique taste, there’s not anything quite like them.
In order to enjoy porcini mushrooms throughout the year we wash, cut, and freeze them. But when fresh porcini are not available we use dried.
Dried Porcini Mushrooms
We enjoy porcini mushrooms in all of its shapes and forms, which includes dried. However, we usually only use dried porcini mushrooms for risotto or a baked dish, not pasta. If you only have access to dried porcini mushrooms use them! This fettuccine con funghi porcini will be delicious and you’ll have the bonus of being able to use the porcini water to boil the pasta which infuses the flavor into the noodles.
Be sure to allow the mushrooms to soak for long enough. We want an even consistency so feel free to flip and move the porcini in order to make sure all sides are absorbing the water. You can add more water to the bowl if things dry out. Don’t worry about adding too much water.
Finding Good Porcini Mushrooms
Searching for really incredible 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 your dish. Lean into that when cooking and let the porcini exist in its most natural form. This is one of the great joys of cooking.
We purchase fresh porcini in the fall when they are in season and then purchase some dried shortly after when the fresh mushrooms have completely dried out. While we don’t have a favorite brand, we do try to stick to porcini from places we know or from a local market. In the U.S. , domestic porcini are delicious; you can also find Italian dried porcini at your local Italian market. Check the back of the label to see where they are from or inquiry with the market.
If you can’t find porcini at all that’s okay! Try a health food store or high-end market with a mix of funky looking fungi. Grab a couple of each and experiment. We look fondly at our time living in Oakland, Ca and being able to visit the mushroom section of Berkeley Bowl. They often had over a dozen types of mushrooms and it was a little piece of paradise!
Don’t Overcook the Mushrooms
An overcooked, extra chewy porcini is a sad porcini. This delicious fettuccine is not the place for sad fungi. Avoid overcooking mushrooms by removing the pan from the heat or even the mushrooms from the pan with a slotted spoon if you’re concerned about overcooking.
Butter (And Other Dairy)
This is the first pasta recipe we’ve ever made that calls for butter. In South 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. And yes, we do deeply admire the longtime friendship between butter and mushrooms.
Last note, 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.
Serves 4 people
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 sprigs parsley
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp butter
- 5 tbsp Turi extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup parmigiano reggiano
- 300 grams fresh porcini mushrooms (or 40 grams dried)
350 grams fettuccine all’uovo
*Do not throw out porcini mushroom water or pasta water*
Instructions for Dried Porcini Mushrooms (skip if using fresh or frozen)
- Place dried porcini mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover well with water.
- Soak for 60 to 90 minutes to rehydrate. Feel the mushrooms with your hands, they should be soft at the touch. If they still feel brittle or hard leave to soak.
- Place a strainer over a large pot. Place a paper towel (or cheesecloth) inside the strainer to catch small particles.
- Pour the porcini mushrooms and water over the strainer. The paper towel should catch the small particles. Strain again if the water is too gritty.
- Set the porcini aside.
- Add more water to the pot and use porcini water to boil the pasta.
- Continue with the recipe below.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Add salt, the water should taste like the sea.
- Using the side of a large knife smash the garlic and remove skin.
- Cut mushrooms into 1” size pieces. (Only cut dried porcini mushrooms if in very large pieces).
- 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 to the pan and increase heat to high.
- Cook for 3 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.
- Add fettuccine to boiling water and cook 1 minute less than al dente cooking instructions. Reserve some pasta water.
- Turn sauce to medium, then add pasta. Stir for 30s. Then add ½ ladle pasta water. Turn heat to high and stir continuously. If the pasta and sauce start to get dry add pasta water ½ ladle at a time. Cook for the remaining 1 minute. Continue to stir.
- Remove from heat, then add parmigiano. Continue to stir to incorporate the cheese.
- Plate and serve immediately.