Pappardelle alla Boscaiola (Mushrooms)

1 hour
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  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6 1x

Ingredients

  • 1 pound pappardelle (or penne)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 pound mushrooms (porcini or your choice)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 12 ounces mild Italian sausage, de-cased (optional)
  • 1 28 ounce can peeled Italian tomatoes, puréed
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

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Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onions in olive oil until lightly golden. Add the sausage and break apart with a fork. When the sausage is lightly browned, add the white wine and allow to evaporate.
  2. In a separate skillet, heat some olive oil and add the mushrooms, cooking until they render liquid and then reduce. Add to the sausage mixture. Add in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes until reduced.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente (one minute less than the package instructions). Drain and add to the skillet with the mushrooms. Mix well. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.

Notes

Possible additions or substitutions: Add 1 cup peas to the skillet 5 minutes prior to end of cooking. Or add ½ cup heavy cream when the tomatoes are added. Or, substitute 6 ounces pancetta, cut into thick strips, in lieu of the sausage.

Ed's Review

So herein lies the difference between Italy and America: Paul Bunyan. In America, Paul Bunyan is the fabled lumberjack of yore. He and his blue ox weathered many a severe winter and fearsome critter, but he still managed to cut down a million trees a year. He was colossal, larger than life, and he delivered the lumber, no matter the weather conditions.

In Italy, the "boscaiolo," or lumberjack, is prized for his ability to forage for mushrooms, hence the name for this pasta. While the legendary boscaiolo was out cutting down trees, he made sure to return from the woods with a few porcini in his pockets, ready to cook with pasta.

And who would you rather be? Big and freezing with an ox and a million logs in North Dakota?  Or snug and warm at home with a few logs and your papardelle alla boscaiola?  A rhetorical question, of course.

Buon Appetito!

Edwin Garrubbo

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