Penne col Sugo di Funghi Coltivati

Penne with Mushroom Sauce

With ingredients available in any supermarket, this sauce elicits from cultivated champignons mushrooms some of the muskiness, the depth of flavor one might associate with rare and expensive porcini.

The mushrooms undergo two cooking stages: the first one draws away and evaporates their bland, taste-diluting liquid; the second concentrates their flavor together with that of wine, anchovies, tomatoes, and parsley. An essential finishing touch is to drizzle the sauced pasta with a little raw olive oil.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for tossing the pasta
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • Salt
  • Black pepper in a grinder
  • cup dry white wine
  • 4 flat anchovy fillets, chopped, or 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • ½ cup canned Italian peeled plum tomatoes, drained and cut up
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 pound penne (quill-shaped pasta)

Method

  1. Wash the mushrooms under cold running water and pat dry immediately with a soft kitchen towel.
  2. Cut the mushrooms into the thinnest possible lengthwise slices without detaching the caps from the stems. No sliee should be any broader than 1 inch; if any of the mushrooms is particularly large, cut in half or quarters before slicing.
  3. Choose a lidded skillet or sauté pan large enough to accommodate all the mushrooms later. Put in the butter, the cup of oil, and the chopped onion and turn on the heat to medium high, leaving the pan uncovered.
  4. When the onion becomes translucent, add the garlic.
  5. When the garlic becomes colored a pale gold, add the mushrooms, salt, and a liberal grinding of pepper. Stir thoroughly and lower the heat to medium. Cook the mushrooms in the uncovered pan until all the liquid they will throw off has evaporated.
  6. Add the wine. Stir thoroughly 2 or 3 times.
  7. When the wine has evaporated, add the anchovies, tomatoes, and parsley. Stir thoroughly, cover the pan, and cook for another 10 minutes.
  8. Cook the pasta in abundant boiling salted water. Drain when it is barely tender but still firm to the bite. Transfer immediately to a warm serving bowl and toss with the mushroom sauce. Pour a little bit of olive oil in a thin stream over the pasta, toss again, and serve at once.

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