Tuesday, 23 July 2013

From Italy with Love:

Porcini Linguini

Mushrooms or 'shrooms
are one of my favourite loves.
Fragrant with a chewy texture, high in fiber, low in fat; a forest fungi, a fave of mine since I was a child!
Fresh Porcini mushrooms here in Toronto I have yet to see.
Generally we have to buy them dry.
They must sit in hot water to reconstitute and although the fragrance is unmistakeable the texture is never quite the same as fresh.

My uncle used to forage for them after heavy rains when I was a child and I would eat a plateful of them, knowing I had to have my fill since I couldn't get them fresh at home.
In Italy you have to have a license to be able to "hunt" for mushrooms as the wrong one can be fatal!

Weekly and sometimes daily during my trip in Italy, I had fresh porcini mushrooms on my pasta, pizza, risotto and sometimes just a plate by themselves.

On my pizza I had shaved truffles with Porcini!


My last week in Italy I had them daily!
The Linguini above was my sister in law homemade egg pasta. 
Should I mention they grind their own wheat? 

The 'shrooms are courtesy of my nephews future father in law who forages for them when it rains.
Although he promised to take me, it rained shortly before I came home and they need days before they grow and are ready to be picked.
Sadly, I didn't get a chance to forage through the forest.

Forestry laws only allow licensed individuals to pick certain foods al bosco (from the forest) on certain days and they can only pick so many by weight to allow for a proper ecosystem.

So, if you know what to look for you can literally live and eat from mother earth!

This recipe is so simple and can be easily replicated using your favourite mushroom.
If you can afford dried Porcini, reconstitute them in a cup of hot water, then squeeze the water out and chop.

This basket of Porcini mushrooms were out at the front of a restaurant as we walked by through the streets of Ancient Rome.
I couldn't resist and grabbed one to smell the fragrance. 
The waiter was soon right beside me in case I made off with them.

At 50-70 euros a kilo, I can see why he was concerned tee hee

This restaurant was right near the Pinocchio shop!

 1 cup of porcini mushrooms, sliced

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1lb of fresh pasta


fresh basil leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile in a small skillet add oil and turn the heat on to medium.
Tip in the mushrooms and saute for 5-10 min until
golden and crisp.

When the water boils drop the pasta in carefully.
Stir immediately with tongs so as not to allow the pasta to stick.
When the pasta rises to the top allow to cook for a minute longer.
Cook until al dente...to your bite.

Drain leaving a 1/4 cup of water in the pot.
Toss pasta with the mushrooms.
Add basil leaves and a handful of parmigiano cheese

Enjoy with love from Italy!

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