I didn’t think it would ever arrive, but fall is finally in full swing and that means it’s mushroom season! Specifically, one of my favorite mushrooms: porcinis are now showing up in the markets. Fresh porcinis have a much more delicate flavor than the dried variety and yet their sweet meaty flavor makes them a delightful addition to just about any savory dish. While I’d love to put them in everything from soups, to sauces, to stews, their relative rarity makes them a prized commodity in my kitchen, which is why I like to enjoy them in simple preparations
Ever since working out the best way to make Cacio e Pepe, I’ve been hooked on this ridiculously easy method of saucing pasta with some boiling liquid emulsified with butter and cheese. It makes for a delightfully savory sauce that’s not too creamy or heavy. Paired with sauteed fresh porcini mushrooms, it makes for an unforgettable combo.
Unless you live in an area where porcinis (a.k.a. Cep, or Boletus edulis) grow, they can be a bit hard to find fresh, so if you can’t get them, fear not, this recipe works with any fragrant mushroom such as shiitake, matsutake, or maitake.
- 6 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 150 grams spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 180 grams fresh porcini mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 30 grams Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Bring the water and salt to a boil and then add the spaghetti. Boil the spaghetti until it is just shy of al dente (about 7 minutes).
- While the pasta is boiling, add the olive oil and porcini mushrooms to a frying pan and saute over medium-high heat until browned around the edges and cooked through. Transfer the porcinis to a clean bowl and set aside.
- When the pasta is done, pour 1/4 cup of the boiling liquid into the pan that you sauteed the mushrooms in and then drain the pasta.
- Add the butter to the pan with the pasta water and whisk together to emulsify over medium-high heat.
- Add the pasta and toss to coat. Turn off the heat, add the cheese a bit at a time until it's fully incorporated into a creamy sauce.
- Return the sauteed porcinis to the pan and toss to distribute evenly.
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.