Porcini and Pasta

**Yeah!  I can blog again!! ***

Caludio, Jeff, Porcini
I’m still waiting for the rains that will bring us porcini and truffles. We had a little rain last week, and a couple of fall fogs, but that’s not enough.

Our market cheese guy, Claudio, is an excellent porcini hunter. He comes from around the Cortona area and must know some secret damp spot in the forests around his house because he showed up on Wednesday with a big smile and some big porcini.  They’re not cheap at 35 euro a kilo, but at least he had some.

We went home with that 9 euro baby in Jeff’s hand and it immediately got sliced up into the pasta pot.  It almost seemed a sin to cook that porcini, but I forced myself.  Raw sliced porcini with a drizzle of good olive oil and a squeeze of lemon is one of the finer things in life.

Fresh Porcini Sauce
Fresh Porcini…the more the merrier, thinly sliced
1 clove of garlic
1 small onion, very thinly sliced
olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, parsley

Put the pasta water on to boil.  This sauce is ready in the time it takes to make the pasta. In fact, you have time to empty the dishwasher before you get around to making the sauce. If your pasta takes 8-10 minutes to cook, this pasta ‘sauce’ takes 5-6 minutes to cook.

Thinly slice the fresh porcini, be careful as porcini can have little worms in them. Get rid of those ugly buggers if you see them. They are part and parcel of porcini, so don’t freak out, but do your best to get rid of them. Tagliatelle con Porcini

Place the peeled clove of garlic in a sauté pan that is big enough to hold the finished pasta. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and turn on the pan to medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, tip the pan so all the oil is pooled at one end and let the garlic sizzle in the oil for a few moments, then discard the garlic clove. You only want the garlic to scent the oil. I know this seems wasteful but porcini flavor is delicate so it’s easy to overpower it.

Add the onions and let them soften, then add the porcini and let everything sauté gently. Add a bit of salt, some pepper.  If it looks a little dry, add a bit more olive oil or a knob of butter.

When the pasta is done, add a tiny ladleful of the cooking water to the pasta sauce, then add the drained pasta, a squeeze of lemon juice, a handful of finely chopped parsley and you are done.
Served with a mild mannered white wine, something clean and light like a Tocai Friuliana or a Pinot Grigio.

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