Cavatappi with Wild Mushrooms and Tomatoes

Cavatappi alla Boscaiola

Boscaiola means “woodsman style” and this dish will evoke sensations of strolling along a densely wooded trail in autumn. Fresh porcini mushrooms would be ideal for this sauce and if you happen to find some by all means use them in this recipe and simply disregard steps 1 and 3. In the absence of fresh porcini the method of using dried porcini illustrated here endows cultivated mushrooms with the flavor of wild mushrooms.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 1 hour and 15 minutes


  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¾ pound fresh cremini or regular white mushrooms, ½-inch diced
  • 1 cup canned peeled tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated


  1. Put the dried porcini in a bowl, cover with water and soak for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Finely chop the parsley.
  3. Lift the porcini out of the water, squeezing the excess back into the bowl; do not discard the water. Rinse the mushrooms under running water, then coarsely chop them.
  4. Put the olive oil, garlic, and parsley in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. When the garlic begins to sizzle, add the porcini and stir well. Add the water the porcini soaked in. Be aware that there may be some sand at the bottom of the bowl so pour carefully or strain through a paper towel.
  5. Add the reconstituted porcini and their water and cook until all the water has evaporated.
  6. While the porcini water is evaporating, dice the fresh mushrooms. When the liquid has evaporated, add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until all the water they release has evaporated.
  7. While the mushrooms cook, coarsely chop the tomatoes. When the mushrooms are ready, add the tomatoes and cook until they are no longer watery, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. The sauce may be prepared ahead of time up to this point and refrigerated.
  8. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, cover, and place over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling pasta water, add the cavatappi and stir well. Cook until al dente. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the reheated sauce, the butter and the Parmigiano cheese. Serve at once.

Also good with: