A porcini pasta recipe from Tuscany.
The deliciousness of pasta with porcini mushrooms can only be understood by those who have had the pleasure of eating it. This tagliatelle with porcini is an Italain classic that’s really easy to make. You just need some good quality porcini, wine, garlic, wild mint or thyme. So, definitely worth going mushroom hunting for (even in your local supermarket!).
Le tagliatelle ai funghi porcini.
I will never forget the first time my hubby took me mushroom hunting in the woods and we found a beautiful large porcini mushroom! My excitement was truly childlike! I was expecting to take it home to cook but my hubby insisted we eat it raw, there in the woods! All I can say is Amazing with a capital A!
Mushroom hunting in Italy.
Here in Italy, mushroom picking is a popular pastime. In late summer/early autumn and spring, when the weather is right and the ground still soft from recent rains, the Italians take to the woodlands with baskets on their arms to search for mushrooms.
There are quite a few species that they search for, but porcini are the treasure of the hunt. They are also among the most difficult to find. It may be possible to discover a carpet of chanterelles (finferli in Italian) but not porcini! They tend to hide in the darker crevices under leaves and detritus.
So, if you are not in the know about specific spots where this mushroom might pop up, it can often be a frustrating search (hence the excitement when a porcino is found!)
Porcini means piglets in Italian.
The name porcini actually means “piglets” in Italian. For the French they are cèpe, for the Germans steinpilz meaning stone mushroom and the English also call them cep or ‘penny buns’. The term ‘porcini mushroom’ actually refers to a few different species.
The most highly appreciated from a culinary point of view is Boletus edulis, or the king bolete. This is usually the mushroom people refer to when they say porcini and this is the one the Italians use in their cuisine to make some of the most delicious dishes in their repertoire! (in my opinion anyway!)
Which are better; fresh, frozen or dried porcini?
Among the most popular ways to cook Boletus edulis in Italy are in risotto or with pasta like this tagliatelle with porcini recipe. Since fresh ones are hard to come by, seasonal and expensive when bought, many people (even in Italy) use dried or frozen mushrooms instead.
Personally, I find the taste of dried ones a little strong, especially with pasta. So, when I use them, I add other fresh mushrooms too. Frozen porcini are a good substitute for fresh. They still retain the aroma and nutty flavour that porcini lovers know so well and are very similar in consistency to fresh ones when cooked.
Mushrooms for this recipe.
I have made this porcini pasta recipe with just fresh porcini, and with a combination of dried or frozen ones together with other mushrooms like cremini. Using different mushrooms not only reduces the cost of making this, but the other mushrooms add the meaty texture of fresh fungi that frozen and dried mushrooms don’t have.
If you can get your hands on fresh or frozen porcini, do use them. But, you can also use dried ones soaked in water. If you do, look for large or whole dried ones. They are better than packets with lots of small pieces.
This recipe is originally from Tuscany but porcini are cooked with pasta throughout the Italian peninsula. Some recipes are pretty simple like this one (just the mushrooms, wine, garlic and wild mint or thyme) but others include vegetables such as peas or meat such as speck or sausage.
What pasta to use.
Tagliatelle is the most traditional kind of pasta to go with porcini because it’s a rich pasta and soaks up all the sauce but pappardelle or fettuccine will work too. I usually use fresh homemade or store-bought pasta. Of course, you can also use dried.
If you make this recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. Please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Other delicious pasta recipes with porcini mushrooms you should check out!
- Potato and porcini mushroom cannelloni (manicotti)
- Paccheri with porcini, speck and pistachio
- Pasta alla Boscaiola (woodman’s pasta)
- Lasagna bianca with mushrooms and burrata
- Gluten free pasta with porcini and chicken livers
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This recipe was originally published in 2107 but has been updated with new images and text.
Tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms
- 400 g tagliatelle (14oz) fresh or dried
- 500 g fresh or frozen porcini mushrooms (17oz) or 250 g porcini and 250 g cremini. See recipe notes about using dried porcini
- ½ glass white wine
- 3-4 fresh nepitella small leafed wild mint sprigs or thyme or parsley
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste and salt for pasta cooking water
- Parmigiano Reggiano grated or vegetarian parmesan (optional)
- Put water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil.
- Clean the fresh mushrooms by cutting off the end of the stalk. It would be better not to rinse with water, given that the fungus absorbs it. You can use a small brush to remove any soil, or a damp cloth.
- Cut the mushrooms into pieces
- Fry the peeled garlic cloves in the olive oil, then remove them when golden and add the mushrooms.
- Cook them for about 3-4 minutes until they start to brown. If using frozen mushrooms add after the fresh ones have browned a little
- Add wine and nepitella or thyme, increase the heat and cook until the alcohol has evaporated
- Reduce the heat and add salt and pepper.
- Continue to cook for about another 10-15 minutes. Lower the heat once mushrooms are cooked through and add the butter. When the butter has melted remove the pan from the heat.
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, remove a glass of the pasta cooking water to be used later and then drain and add the pasta to the pan with the mushrooms and butter.
- Toss everything together over a low heat. The pasta absorbs liquid very quickly so if it looks too dry, add a little of the pasta cooking water at a time until you get the right creaminess.
- Serve immediately with grated parmigiano or vegetarian parmesan as required.
Tagliatelle is the most traditional kind of pasta to go with porcini because it soaks up all the sauce well and fresh tagliatelle has a rich taste, but pappardelle or fettuccine will work too. Italian Parmigiano isn’t vegetarian so use a vegetarian parmesan or omit cheese for a vegetarian version. Nutrition info doesn’t include cheese. USING DRIED PORCINI. Because dried porcini have a very strong taste and are expensive, I would suggest mixing them with some cremini or white champignon/button mushrooms) That way you also get nice pieces of mushroom in the sauce. 60g (2oz) dried porcini & 400g (14oz) other mushrooms. Soak the dried porcini in a bowl of warm water for at least 30 minutes before draining and cooking. (the water should cover the mushrooms) You can use a bit of the soaking liquid in the sauce.
If you are interested in learning how to make homemade pasta and different types of gnocchi, check out my shop page for some great video online courses from my friends in Rome! Nothing beats learning to make pasta from Italians! Plus while you’re there why not order a copy of one of my pasta recipe cookbooks or checkout some recommended pasta making tools?