Porcini mushrooms are difficult to cultivate, so take advantage when these mushrooms are in season, which is autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. During the height of the season, I take a couple of foraging trips into the woods and usually end up with more than I can eat. So I dry them, which keeps the porcini’s intense aroma and flavor intact. You can slice them and dry them in a dehydrator or in the sun. The dried porcini add a deep woodsy flavor to this pasta recipe, and you can enjoy it all year long.
- 1½ cups dried porcini mushrooms (recipe follows)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 whole garlic cloves
- ½ cup white wine
- 10 sage leaves, chopped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 ounces fettuccine pasta
- ½ cup grated Parmesan
- Place the mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with 2 cups warm water. Soak for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the mushrooms and reserve 1 cup of the soaking liquid. If the mushrooms are gritty, pour the soaking liquid through a coffee filter to remove the grit.
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Remove the cloves and discard.
- Add the rehydrated mushrooms to the same pan and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Raise the temperature to high and add the wine and sage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the alcohol evaporates, about 3 minutes.
- Add the broth, reserved mushroom water, and salt. Continue to cook over high heat until almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and swirl in the butter.
- While the broth reduces, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the fettuccine until al dente. Drain the pasta and toss to combine with the mushroom mixture. Serve with grated Parmesan on top. Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Home-Dried Porcini Mushrooms
To dry mushrooms in a dehydrator, place sliced porcinis on the drying rack in a single layer. Set the temperature to 120°F. They should be ready in 18 to 24 hours. When done, the mushrooms should be so dry that they can be cracked in half.
To dry mushrooms in the sun, place them on racks or stainless steel screens. Raise them off the ground by placing the racks on blocks or bricks; this will allow air to circulate underneath. Cover the racks with protective netting or cheesecloth and place in direct sunlight. After sundown or if the weather changes, bring them indoors. Bring the racks out in the sun the next day. When done, the mushrooms should be so dry that they can be cracked in half. In ideal conditions, this will take about 1 week.
Excerpted from SAVOR by Ilona Oppenheim (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2016. Photographs by Ilona Oppenheim.