Genovese Mushroom Ragu with Trofie (tocco de funzi)

Genovese Mushroom Ragu with Trofie (tocco de funzi).

Known as ‘tocco de funzi’ in the local dialect, this delicious Genovese mushroom ragu is a traditional pasta sauce from Liguria in Northern Italy. If they are available, it’s made with fresh foraged porcini (ceps). But, many Ligurians make it with dried mushrooms when fresh are out of season.

Genovese mushroom ragu with trofie

Sugo di funghi alla genovese.

Here in Italy, mushroom hunting is popular. In early autumn and spring, when the weather is right and the ground still soft from recent rains, the Italians take to the woods to search for mushrooms. There are quite a few species that they look for, but porcini are the treasure of the hunt.

ingredients for Genovese mushroom ragu on white plate

Italians consider porcini (cep in English) to be the king of wild mushrooms! And, quite rightly so! The meaty texture and earthy and nutty flavour of these mushrooms give depth and richness to every dish that includes them!

plum tomatoes in white bowl full of boiling water

These mushrooms can be found in woods throughout the Italian peninsula. I’ve seen them in Sicily and here in the North. Of course, practically every region has recipes for porcini. However, they are very often used in pasta sauces and risotto recipes. In some pasta sauces, the porcini add flavour to the other ingredients. In others, they are the flavour. And this Genovese mushroom ragu is one of the latter types of porcini recipes!

ingredients for mushroom ragu peeled and chopped and ready to cook.

What mushrooms can you use?

Because I didn’t have any fresh or frozen porcini, I used dried ones. This is probably what most people would use. However, I also included some champignons (white button mushrooms) just to add some meaty mushroom texture. Dried porcini don’t really re-hydrate to quite the same texture as fresh ones! However, it’s not necessary to use other mushrooms too. But, if you do,  you can add any type of mushroom that you like.

chopped porcini, champignons and onion cooking in skillet

A final couple of words about dried porcini. Firstly, try to choose a packet that has large pieces of dried mushrooms, not lots of small and broken pieces. Then, when you soak the dried porcini, the aroma should fill your kitchen. If you can’t smell them, you can’t taste them!

mushrooms, onions, parsley and the other herbs cooking in skillet

What are the other ingredients in this Genovese mushroom ragu?

Some porcini pasta sauces don’t include tomatoes like this classic tagliatelle with porcini from Tuscany. However, this Genovese mushroom ragu with trofie does. I used some fresh peeled small plum tomatoes (piccadilly from Southern Italy) plus a little passata.  You can use only fresh tomatoes if you prefer.

Chopped and peeled tomatoes with cooked mushrooms in skillet

Like many old traditional pasta recipes, there are different versions of Genovese mushroom ragu. Some contain only tomato concentrate and a few others no tomatoes. I, more or less, followed a recipe from a site called Genova Today, so I guess this is a pretty authentic version!

Genovese mushroom ragu (tocco de funzi)

Apart from the mushrooms and tomatoes, all you need is onion, garlic, fresh rosemary, bay leaves and parsley. If using dried porcini, you will need to soak them for 30 minutes in hot water before cooking them. Keep the soaking water and add a little to the sauce. It will intensify the porcini flavour.

Dried trofie pasta from Pastificio Sorrentino, Gragnano

The pasta for Genovese mushroom ragu.

There are a couple of types of pasta that are exclusively from Liguria. One is corzetti and the other, trofie. The latter is very often served with pesto Genovese (basil pesto). Traditionally, this Genovese mushroom ragu is eaten with ravioli or tagliatelle, but we had it with trofie.

cooked trofie pasta in skillet with mushroom ragu

Trofie are a short twisted traditionally fresh pasta. I have read that this pasta was  invented in a town on the eastern Ligurian Riviera called Recco near Genova, which is also famous for focaccia. Trofie is usually made with durum wheat flour, salt and water, but no eggs.  It is actually small stretched and twisted pieces of pasta with pointed ends but, thicker at the center.

Genovese mushroom ragu with trofie pasta mixed together in skillet

Legend has it that the women of Liguria would sit on chairs along the coast twisting the pasta pieces as they waited for their fishermen husbands to come home!

The trofie pasta I used.

The trofie I used for this Genovese mushroom ragu was dried trofie, actually made by a company in Gragnano, near Naples. I visited this small pasta maker last year when I visited Gragnano. The name of this company is Pastificio Sorrentino.

I have used their pasta in some other recipes and it’s excellent. This is not surprising as Gragnano is home to some of the best dried pasta in Italy. You can read more about Gragnano and the pasta there in my post about my visit.

Genovese mushroom ragu (tocco de funzi)

If you don’t have trofie, you can use a variety of other pasta shapes for this Genovese mushroom ragu. As I have mentioned above, tagliatelle and ravioli are traditional. But, corzetti or even penne would be delicious too.

Genovese mushroom ragu with trofie pasta

Whichever pasta you use, I’m sure you’ll love this Genovese mushroom ragu. It’s meatless, so perfect for vegetarians and vegans, although without the Parmigiano Reggiano that I added to the plates before serving!  (that has animal rennet in it!)

If you make this Genovese mushroom ragu with trofie recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. So, please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Buon appetito!

Other recipes from Liguria.

  1. Pesto pasta Liguria with green beans and potatoes.
  2. Corzetti with Genovese meat sauce
  3. Trofie with pesto
  4. Baked fish ravioli

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Genovese mushroom ragu with trofie
5 from 28 votes
Genovese mushroom ragu
Genovese mushroom ragu with trofie pasta.
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
 

Known as 'tocco de funzi' in the local dialect, this is a delicious and easy porcini mushroom pasta recipe from Liguria. You can use fresh or dried porcini and add other mushrooms too.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Liguria, Mediterranean, Northern Italy
Keyword: authentic Italian pasta recipe, cep, Liguria, mushroom pasta, mushrooms, porcini, trofie, wild mushrooms
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline
Ingredients
  • 400 g trofie pasta (14oz) or other pasta like tagliatelle
  • 300 g fresh porcini (ceps) (10oz) or 30 g dried porcini
  • 250 g fresh champignon mushrooms (9oz) or other fresh mushrooms
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 handful fresh parsely washed and finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary chopped
  • 200 g plum tomatoes (7oz) blanched, peeled and chopped
  • 250 g tomato passata (9oz)
  • 1/2 glass dry white wine
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper. to taste
Instructions
  1. If using dried porcini, soak them in a bowl of hot water for about 30 minutes.

  2. If using other mushrooms as well (or fresh porcini) clean them by brushing the dirt off them and then chop into small pieces.

  3. Peel and chop the onion very finely and place it in a heavy skillet or pan with a little olive oil. Cook until the onion becomes translucent. Add the mushrooms after having cleaned and roughly cut them if fresh, or after soaking them in hot water.

  4. Chop the garlic, rosemary and parsley, then add to the mushrooms; after a few minutes, pour in half a glass of white wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate.

  5. Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water then peel and chop them and add them to the pan.

  6. Add salt to taste and bay leaves.. If using passata too, add it once the fresh tomatoes have started to soften. Stir and continue cooking for about 30 minutes.

  7. If the sauce seems dry add some of the porcini soaking water (after straining it) or if using only fresh mushrooms, you can add some of the pasta cooking water once the pasta is almost ready.

  8. Meanwhile put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet.

  9. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Mix well and add more fresh parsley and ground black pepper. Serve with some grated Parmigiano Reggiano if required.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be made with fresh or dried porcini (ceps) together with other fresh mushrooms if you prefer. You can use only fresh peeled tomatoes or add some passata too. Traditionally the pasta would be tagliatelle or ravioli. I used trofie but you can use penne or other pasta of your choice!

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57 Comments

  • Avatar
    Lathiya
    February 11, 2020 12:19 am

    Your website is real treasure for pasta lovers. I didn’t even know that these many varieties of pasta are available. The dish looks fabulous.

  • Avatar
    Jennifer Banz
    February 10, 2020 11:08 pm

    I love your blog so much. I feel like I am in Italy reading through the recipes. This mushroom Ragu was out of this world!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:38 pm

      That’s a great compliment, thank you, Jennifer! I glad you loved the ragu.

  • Avatar
    Joyce
    February 10, 2020 10:05 pm

    Love how simple this recipe is! I don’t cook with mushrooms often but this one I have to try!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:40 pm

      Mushrooms are so versatile and perfect for pasta recipes. I hope you try it and love it!

  • Avatar
    Jenni LeBaron
    February 10, 2020 8:53 pm

    I’ve never come across Trofie pasta, but it looks delightful! I am also a huge fan of mushrooms so I like that this has ample mushrooms in it. What a delicious pasta recipe!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:41 pm

      Thank you, Jenni. There are so many fantastic pasta types out there.

  • Avatar
    Jacque Hastert
    February 10, 2020 8:34 pm

    I love all things mushrooms and I know that I would love this dish! It would be perfect for date nights in.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:45 pm

      Thank you, Jacque. Simple but beautiful makes for a perfect date night meal!

  • Avatar
    Claire | The Simple, Sweet Life
    February 10, 2020 4:56 am

    My husband and I both love recipes with mushrooms, so I’m sure this would be a hit in our household. Can’t wait to give your recipe a try!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:46 pm

      Thank you, Claire. If you try it and love it, let me know!

  • Avatar
    Danielle
    February 9, 2020 10:10 pm

    It is exciting to learn recipes’ local names, and this ragu is not an exception. Great to know you can use mushrooms instead of porcini, too – makes it the perfect recipe to make any time of the year.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:47 pm

      Thank you, Danielle. Yes, it’s a great all-year-round recipe.

  • Avatar
    Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness
    February 9, 2020 9:53 pm

    I have always just bought ragu, but now I am really tempted to make it myself! Bookmarking for later. Thank you for the recipe!!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:48 pm

      You cannot beat homemade ragu, Cathleen! You may never go back after trying your own.

  • Avatar
    Emily
    February 9, 2020 12:53 am

    I’m so into mushrooms lately! This pasta is amazing!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:49 pm

      Mushrooms are so tasty and versatile!

  • Avatar
    Alexis
    February 8, 2020 10:49 pm

    This dish sounds absolutely amazing. I love fresh harvested mushrooms with fresh pasta.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:52 pm

      Thank you, Alexis. You are so right – there is something special about mushrooms that you have harvested yourself.

  • Avatar
    Veronika
    February 8, 2020 1:11 am

    This looks like a perfect comforting meal for a cold weather like today! Love that you add mushrooms to the dish!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:53 pm

      Thank you, Veronika!

  • Avatar
    Anna
    February 7, 2020 1:52 pm

    I’ve still got a box of dried porcini mushrooms which I’ve foraged last Autumn and I think I know how I’m going to use them… 🙂 This looks utterly delicious!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:53 pm

      This is a great use for them, Anna!

  • Avatar
    Lesli Schwartz
    February 6, 2020 5:13 pm

    This pasta shape is so cute! I will definitely look for it in the store. Love the sauce!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:54 pm

      It is worth looking for, Lesli!

  • Avatar
    Ramona
    February 6, 2020 3:59 pm

    I am loving this recipe and will be making is as soon as tonight. It just takes me back to some beautiful pasta we have had over the Christmas in Genova – oh, I am drooling now. I am also a HUGE mushrooms fan so, yes please and thank you so much for sharing this beautiful Genovese mushroom pasta dish!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:57 pm

      Thank you, Ramona. I also love food connected to memories!

  • Avatar
    Simone
    February 6, 2020 12:32 pm

    I’m a huge mushroom fan, so this is right up my alley… yummy!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 8:58 pm

      Thank you, Simone!

  • Avatar
    Beth
    February 6, 2020 3:13 am

    Jacqui, I’d love to be sitting down to a bowl of this pasta right now. I really enjoy mushrooms though can’t always get my family to go along with that, so this would be my own pleasure.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:00 pm

      Thank you, Beth. This might be the recipe that sways them!

  • Avatar
    Stine Mari
    February 5, 2020 11:48 pm

    I love how the mushrooms shine in this ragu recipe. Mushroom with pasta is my fave and this is a winner for me!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:01 pm

      Mushrooms are definitely a star ingredient!

  • Avatar
    Sivaranjani
    February 5, 2020 8:05 pm

    Nice to know the native sauce of Liguria. I love your stepwise captures. So that anyone can try easily

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:01 pm

      Thank you, I am glad the instructions are useful!

  • Avatar
    Christy Boston’s Kitchen
    February 5, 2020 5:20 pm

    Usually when I think of ragu, I think of meat. I love how you made this out of mushrooms instead. I love ragu and can’t wait to try this!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:02 pm

      Thank you, Christy!

  • Avatar
    Ai
    February 5, 2020 2:32 pm

    This must be so flavorful with all the mushrooms in the sauce! Looks delicious!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:02 pm

      It is really delicious!

  • Avatar
    Angela
    February 5, 2020 3:02 am

    The mushroom combination in this make a lovely hearty vegetarian meal.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:03 pm

      Thank you, Angela. You certainly don’t miss meat with this recipe!

  • Avatar
    LaRena
    February 5, 2020 2:24 am

    Sounds delicious. Now, I shall have to search for a gluten-free trofie pasta. Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:04 pm

      Thank you, Larena! If you cannot find GF pasta in a store near you, there are lots of online stockists you could use.

  • Avatar
    Liz
    February 5, 2020 2:14 am

    I could eat 2 large plates of this. Looks so good.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:05 pm

      Exactly, Liz! The only problem with this dish is stopping at one serving!

  • Avatar
    Chef Dennis
    February 4, 2020 4:53 am

    This Genovese Mushroom Ragu with Trofie is making me super hungry that I could hear my tummy growl! I can’t wait to serve this with my wife and sons.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:06 pm

      Thank you, Dennis. I hope it’s a big hit!

  • Avatar
    Toni
    February 3, 2020 10:14 pm

    This quickly became a favorite at my house!! So tasty!!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:09 pm

      That is good to hear, Toni!

  • Avatar
    Suzy
    February 3, 2020 9:43 pm

    That’s one thing I love about Italy, all of the different unique types of pasta noodles that you can find! This looks insanely good!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:09 pm

      There is so much to discover!

  • Avatar
    Tara
    February 3, 2020 9:29 pm

    Loved the mushrooms in this — such a lovely change of pace from the usual meat sauces!

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:11 pm

      Thank you, Tara.

  • Avatar
    Carrie Robinson
    February 3, 2020 8:32 pm

    This sounds so flavorful! Pasta is my favorite comfort food. 🙂

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:11 pm

      Thank you, Carrie. It is mine too!

  • Avatar
    Tammy
    February 3, 2020 8:31 pm

    This looks so delicious and comforting…what a wonderful dish for Valentine’s Day! I love the pasta you used too…lovely meal.

    • Avatar
      The Pasta Project
      February 16, 2020 9:12 pm

      Thank you, Tammy. I hope you try it and love it!

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