Italian white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms

Italian white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms (chiodini)

One of the tastiest ingredients to be found here in Italy during the autumn is wild mushrooms. Italians love them, especially with pasta. This Italian white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms is one of many delicious Italian recipes for pasta and wild mushrooms!  Of course, you can also substitute the wild mushrooms for cultivated ones!

Italian white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms

The Mushrooms.

For this white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms, I used what Italians call ‘chiodini’ or ‘famigliola buona’.  We didn’t pick the mushrooms ourselves. We were given them as a present. My hubby is a doctor with a countryside practice. He often comes home with edible gifts from his patients,  which is so nice! We get given fresh eggs and fruit, foraged mushrooms and even homemade pasta and cakes!

Italian white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms

Chiodini mushrooms (Armillaria mellea) are found growing on or near hardwood trees.  In English, they are better known as honey mushrooms. Honey mushrooms are actually a parasitic fungus that infects trees.  Although that doesn’t sound tempting, these are actually among the best foraged mushrooms for cooking. In fact , Honey mushrooms have a slightly sweet taste and a rich umami flavour. Many people say they are better than shiitake!

wild chiodini (honey mushrooms)

The only problem with these mushrooms is that some people get an upset stomach after eating them. So, it’s very important that they are very well cooked. Italians usually boil them first for about 10-15 minutes and then rinse them well before adding them to a sauce or dish. This is what I did and we had no problems.  Actually,  this white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms was to-die-for delicious!

wild chiodini (honey mushrooms)

If you don’t have or want to use ‘chiodini’ (honey mushrooms), this white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms can be made with porcini or chanterelles. Both are very popular wild mushrooms in the Italian kitchen. However, even cultivated mushrooms would be delicious in this dish! I would go for creminis or shiitake.

wild chiodini (honey mushrooms) washed and ready to boil

The White Ragu

The most common way to cook wild mushroom pasta in Italy is with a simple sauce made with garlic, parsley and white wine, sometimes with cream too. There are also recipes for wild mushroom pasta with a tomato sauce or with sausage or a normal meat sauce. I liked the idea of serving these mushrooms together with a white ragu. This means a meat sauce without tomatoes.

Ingredients for Italian white ragu pasta

Like sauces with tomatoes, there are many different versions of white ragu. It’s popular in many parts of Italy, especially Tuscany. White ragu is usually made with a mixture of different ground meat (I used veal and pork) plus sausage or pancetta (I used pancetta). The taste of the white ragu is milder than a traditional red ragu. So, it’s perfect with wild mushrooms as it doesn’t obscure their flavour  but makes the dish richer and heartier.

chopped onions, carrots and celery in frying pan

The Pasta

Both white ragu and wild mushrooms are often eaten with flat egg pasta ribbons like tagliatelle or pappardelle. I chose to use mezze rigatoni, meaning half size rigatoni. These rigatoni were made by La Molisana, one of my favourites among the big pasta maker here in Italy!  However, you can serve this sauce with either ribbons or short tubes such as penne or cut ziti.

cooked Italian white ragu in frying pan

Making this white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms

If using wild chiodini mushrooms, this recipe takes a little longer to make. The mushrooms need to be cleaned and boiled first. Other wild or cultivated mushrooms just need to be cleaned and sliced.  After preparing the mushrooms, I started with the ragu. While that was simmering, I cooked the mushrooms with garlic, parsley and a little wine. When everything is ready you can either mix the mushrooms with the ragu or mix the pasta with the ragu, plate it and spoon the mushrooms over the top. It doesn’t change the taste. It just looks nice!

Italian white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms

If you make this Italian white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms 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!

Italian white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms

Other pasta with mushrooms recipes to check out!

  1. Tagliatelle with porcini
  2. Potato and porcini cannelloni
  3. Baked lumaconi shells with chicory and porcini
  4. Homemade cavatelli with oyster mushrooms and sausage

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5 from 11 votes
Italian white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms
Italian white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins

This white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms is one of many delicious Italian recipes for pasta and wild mushrooms! Of course, you can also substitute the wild mushrooms for cultivated ones!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
Keyword: chiodini, pasta, pasta recipe, rigatoni, white ragu, wild mushrooms
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
  • 400 g Rigatoni pasta (14oz) or other short pasta tubes
  • 60 g Parmesan (2oz) grated
For white ragu
  • 200 g ground pork (7oz)
  • 200 g ground veal (7oz)
  • 100 g pancetta (3.5oz) cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • 3 sage leaves chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig Rosemary chopped
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 1 onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 500 ml beef or vegetable broth I used homemade but you can also use a stock cube
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • salt for pasta and to taste
  • black pepper to taste
For mushrooms
  • 500 g mushrooms wild or cultivated
  • 1 handful parsley chopped
  • 1/2 glass white wine
  • 2-3 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Prepare the mushrooms
  1. Start by cleaning the mushrooms. Cut off the lower half of the stalk and brush the dirt away with a cloth. Chiodini (honey mushrooms) can be rinsed as they are going to be boiled. Porcini shouldn’t be rinsed as they will absorb the water.

  2. If using chiodini put in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove any froth that comes to the top. Drain the mushrooms and rinse well under running water. 

  3. Cut the mushrooms into slices or in half depending on their size. Some of my chiodini mushrooms were so small I left them intact.

Make the white ragu
  1. Wash the carrots, herbs and celery. Peel the onion. Chop the pancetta into cubes if needed (you can buy pancetta already cubed) 

  2. Finely chop the carrot, onion, celery, sage and rosemary. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet and add the chopped vegetables and herbs. Cook until they start to soften.

  3. Add the ground pork and veal and the pancetta. Let the meat brown well over a high heat, stirring constantly. Add the white wine and let the alcohol evaporate. Then add salt, pepper, the bay leaves and 2 ladles of hot stock and lower the heat and simmer the sauce for about 1 hour adding more stock when necessary.

  4. Ten minutes before the sauce is ready remove the bay leaves, add the milk, stir and finish cooking on a low heat.

  5. While the sauce is cooking put a large saucepan of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. 

Cook the mushrooms
  1. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Add the chopped garlic and allow it to soften slightly. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5-10 minutes until they are nearly ready. Add the white wine and turn up the heat until the alcohol evaporates. Reduce the heat. Add some chopped parsley, stir and cook for another minute or 2. If the mushrooms seem dry you can add some broth or pasta cooking water to them.

Finish the dish
  1. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. When it’s ready, drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Mix everything well together and plate. Spoon over some of the mushrooms on each plate. Serve hot with a sprinkling of parsley and grated Parmesan or grana if required.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be made with other types of wild mushrooms such as porcini or chanterelles or cultivated mushrooms like cremini or shiitake.

Instead of rigatoni you can use other types of short pasta such as penne, or garganelli or pasta ribbons like tagliatelle

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Italian white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms

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  • Avatar
    November 14, 2018 5:15 pm

    Loving the flavors in this! Can’t wait to give it a try!

  • Avatar
    Danielle Wolter
    November 14, 2018 1:53 pm

    I absolutely love wild mushrooms so I totally need to make this dish. It sounds incredible!

  • Avatar
    Catherine Brown
    November 13, 2018 3:04 am

    LOVE this assortmnt of all the wild mushrooms here! I like that you used whit wine in the sause too and didn’t finish it with cream, letting the delicate flavor of the mushrooms shine through!

    • Jacqui
      November 13, 2018 9:35 am

      Thank you Catherine! I like mushroom sauce with cream but not when using wild mushrooms. A little white wine is better!

  • Avatar
    Bobbi | Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
    November 13, 2018 1:00 am

    Aaahhhhhh past and muchrooms, a match made in heaven! I could just make a meal of them together! This dish looks SO good!

    • Jacqui
      November 13, 2018 9:36 am

      Grazie Bobbi! Yes pasta and mushrooms is a match made in foodie heaven! When the mushrooms are wild it’s even better!

  • Avatar
    Sri Mallya
    November 12, 2018 10:18 pm

    Lovely combination of ingredients. Can’t wait to try ypur recipe. Yum!

    • Jacqui
      November 13, 2018 9:37 am

      Thank you Sri! I’m sure you’ll love this dish! So delicious!

  • Avatar
    Shernell P Cooke
    November 12, 2018 5:50 am

    I love cooking with wild food to. I never feel sick after eating mushrooms so this dis would be perfect for me.

    • Jacqui
      November 13, 2018 9:42 am

      Wild mushrooms are the best Shernell and perfect with pasta!

  • Avatar
    Pam Greer
    November 11, 2018 10:07 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips about using the mushrooms! My whole family would love this pasta!

    • Jacqui
      November 13, 2018 9:43 am

      Wild mushrooms are delicious but it’s important to prepare them the right way, Pam! I’m also sure your family would love this dish

  • Avatar
    November 11, 2018 9:43 pm

    There’s nothing like a good ragu and this looks great. Perfect weather for it!

    • Jacqui
      November 13, 2018 9:44 am

      Thanks Kelly. White ragu is really tasty and perfect with wild mushrooms as it allows their flavour to come out!

  • Avatar
    Mary Bostow
    November 11, 2018 9:14 pm

    This white ragu pasta with wild mushrooms looks so warm and comforting! Yummy! I bet those flavors are amazing! This is so delicious and it makes my mouth watering.

    • Jacqui
      November 13, 2018 9:46 am

      Thanks so much Mary! Yes the white ragu and wild mushrooms is a flavourful combo! Perfect autumn dish!

  • Avatar
    November 11, 2018 8:48 pm

    I love this recipe! It’s been a while since I’ve last been and this just take me back. Thank you!

    • Jacqui
      November 13, 2018 9:48 am

      Thank you Jori! Mushroom hunting is so much fun, isn’t it? I love walking through the woods looking for the mushrooms, then cooking them and eating them! Such a great way to make dinner!

  • Avatar
    November 11, 2018 8:26 pm

    We love pasta and I like discovering new sauces for them. This looks so delicious and mild. Will defintely try it.

    • Jacqui
      November 13, 2018 9:49 am

      Grazie Farwin! Pasta with wild mushrooms is very popular here in Italy and the white ragu makes this dish heartier and more comforting! I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

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