Elicoidali ai Funghi e Olive (Mushrooms and Olives)

30 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


  • 1 pound mushrooms (any variety), sliced
  • 1 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound elicoidali (rigatoni or any tubular pasta)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino cheese, grated

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  1. Over medium heat, saute the garlic in the olive oil until golden. Add the mushrooms and cook until their juices evaporate. Add the olives, salt and pepper. Simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente (2 minutes less than the package recommends). Drain, retaining 1 cup of the cooking water.
  3. Add the pasta to the mushroom mixture. Over medium heat, add some of the water until moist and warm for about a minute. Mix in the Pecorino. Serve immediately.

Ed's Review

I hate to bring us all back to geometry class, but Sunday Pasta is making me do it. Luckily, the result of today’s class will be a delicious bowl of pasta, and not a dreaded bell curve and a headache. As you may recall, a helix “is a three dimensional curve that lies on a cylinder or cone, so that its angle to a plane perpendicular to the axis is constant.” In plain English, that might be more easily described as a spiral, or coil, or corkscrew.

I certainly didn’t want to relearn this fact, but as you can see, today’s pasta shape is “Elicoidali” (in English, Helical), which is the adjective form of the word Elica (or Helix).  And since one must always know what one is eating, today one is eating helices!

As opposed to fusilli, another spiral, Elicoidali are more like a narrow rigatoni, hollow tubes, with ridges that spiral around the sides. They’re great for getting sauces to cling to their sides.

Now forget everything I just taught you and enjoy the pasta!

Buon Appetito!

Edwin Garrubbo

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