Nicky’s Black Trumpet Pasta


  • 225 g (8 oz) fresh black trumpets or soaked dried ones
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 12–16 large black olives, pitted and halved,
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
  • 4 slices Italian mortadella salami, cut into tiny squares
  • 450 g (1 lb) pasta shells, cooked
  • salt and pepper to taste


Wash the black trumpets and dry them with paper towels. (If you are using dried ones, soak them for 15 minutes in cold water and drain.) Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or saucepan and cook the garlic, olives, and basil over high heat for 1 minute, then add the salami and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Because the salami is rather fatty, it should give off plenty of oil in which to cook the black trumpets. Add them and fry for another 6 minutes, again stirring constantly. When the mushrooms are tender, throw in the pasta shells and stir thoroughly until all the flavours are well blended. Season and serve immediately.

We personally do not sprinkle grated Parmesan on the pasta because we find that its strong taste overshadows the other flavours. Instead, we usually have a pot of sheep’s yogurt and a bowl of green salad on the table as accompaniments. The pasta, and a glass of cold Frascati to wash it down, are what we serve friends who come around for lunch on Saturday in the autumn.