Saturday, June 20, 2015

Campanelle a Funghi al Funghetto

     Ligurian Style Mushroom Pasta! 
     Ligure, Italy is famous for being a prime wild mushroom harvesting region.  The local recipes reflect upon this fact.  Ligurian Pasta di Funghi al Funghetto is a mushroom lover's dream come true!

     Campanelle pasta translates to "Bell Pasta".  Bell shapes with ruffled edges is what Campanelle looks like.  Campanelle is an Italian artisan pasta.  In Ligure, Capellini would probably be the first pasta shape choice for Funghi al Funghetto at most restaurants.  Campanelle adds a nice touch.
     All fine French and Viennese cooking originated during the grand old age of Venetian high cuisine, back when Venice was the number one port of commerce in Europe.  Just like in the old days, Italian haute cuisine is very strict and it is perfection oriented.
     Many Italian regional recipes are simple and uncomplicated, yet the flavors seem much more complex than they really are.  The secret lies in preparing food with perfection in mind.  Italian cooking techniques are perfection at its best.
     Today's Funghi al Funghetto recipe is demonstrative of how using good sauté cooking techniques and just a few ingredients can result in an outstanding tasting plate of food!
     Campanelle a Funghi al Funghetto:
     This recipe yields 1 pasta entrée.  
     Just like most Italian pasta recipes, the sauce is made or finished while the pasta cooks.  The goal is to have the sauce and pasta finish at exactly the same time, so peak flavor perfection is achieved.  
     Fresh Porcini Mushrooms are almost never available in America.  Porcini come from only one place and that is Italy.  Dried Porcini are available at Italian Delicatessens and grocery stores.    
     Step 1:  Soak about 1/6 cup of dried porcini mushroom slices in 1 cup of water overnight in a refrigerator.  There will be about 1/5 cup of porcini after they reconstitute.
     Step 2:  Pour the soaking liquid trough a strainer into a container and set it aside.  (Save the soaking liquid for later in the recipe!)
     Place the porcini on a cutting board.
     Coarsely chop the porcini and set them aside.       
     Step 3:  Start cooking 1 portion of campanelle pasta in boiling water, till it is al dente.  
     Step 4:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of pomace olive oil.
     Add 3 thin sliced garlic cloves.
     Sauté till the garlic turns a light golden brown color.
     Step 5:  Add the reserved porcini mushrooms.
     Add 1/4 cup of sliced button cave mushrooms.
     Add 1/4 cup of sliced small portobello mushrooms.
     Add 1 fluted or decoratively carved mushroom cap.  (An optional garnish.)
     Sauté the mushrooms, till brown highlights appear.
     Step 6:  Add the reserved porcini soaking liquid.  (About 3/4 cup.)
     Add 1 cup of chicken broth.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of oregano.
     Rapidly simmer and reduce the liquid by half.
     Reduce the temperature to very low heat.    
     Step 7:  *By now the campanelle pasta should be cooked al dente!
     Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Add the campanelle pasta to the sauce.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of virgin olive oil.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 8:  Gently simmer and reduce the sauce till most of the liquid evaporates and the olive oil starts to cling to the pasta.  
     Step 9:  Campanelle a Funghi al Funghetto on a plate.
     Serve with finely grated Parmigiana Cheese and warm Italian bread on the side.
     This Ligurian style pasta is delicious!  

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