Pasta is sometimes cooked in the way of risotto in Italian cooking, which means that it is cooked (or finished to be cooked) in stock. The pasta will take on the flavor of the stock, so this will give your pasta dish great depth of flavor. This works exceptionally well for pasta with dried porcini mushrooms, as you can use the porcini soaking liquid to finish cooking the pasta. Combined with the reconstituted porcini mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, and parmigiano, this makes for one hell of a flavor bomb from all that umami.
In this case I used fresh cultivated button mushrooms (also known as cremini mushrooms) and horn of plenty mushrooms, which are wild mushrooms that look like a black version of chanterelles, but you could use any mixture of mushrooms to make this. The important part is that at least one type of mushroom should be dried, as you will need the soaking water to prepare the pasta risotto style. For this recipe dried pasta is the best, because it will absorb the mushroom flavor much better than fresh pasta would.
For 4 servings
100 grams (3.5 oz) dried porcini mushrooms
750 grams (1.7 lbs) fresh mushrooms, I used cremini and horn of plenty
300 grams (.66 lb) tagliatelle pasta
1 large shallot (or 2 smaller ones), minced
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
3 Tbsp minced fresh flat leaf parsley
500 ml (2 cups) of boiling water
Put the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl and add 500 ml of boiling water. Allow to soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, clean the mushrooms if needed and chop them roughly.
Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a wide pan. Add the minced shallot, season with salt, and stir over medium heat until the shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes.
Now add the cremini mushrooms…
…and the horn of plenty.
Cook the mushrooms over medium heat, stirring regularly.
When the mushrooms are almost cooked, drain the porcini mushrooms (reserving the soaking water) and add them to the other mushrooms.
Strain the porcini soaking liquid through kitchen paper or muslin.
Add 2 tablespoons of minced parsley to the mushrooms and stir for another minute.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the tagliatelle, and set the timer for 2 minutes less than the time indicated for al dente on the package.
A minute before the timer is about to beep, add the filtered porcini soaking water to the mushrooms, and bring to a boil.
When the timer beeps, drain the pasta and add to the mushrooms.
Stir over high heat so that the pasta can soak up the porcini liquid and finish cooking. Keep stirring until the liquid has almost all been absorbed, then turn off the heat.
Add a generous amount of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. Stir to incorporate, then taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve at once on preheated plates, sprinkled with the remaining parsley and some more freshly grated parmigiano.
This is great with either a slightly oaked but dry white (such as Verdicchio Riserva) or a light earthy red (such as pinot noir from Burgundy).
The combination of shrimp and pesto may sound strange, but you can find pasta with this pairing of ingredients on the menu of many restaurants in Italy or on Italian blogs and it works. Zucchini is a nice addition to turn this into a yummy piatto unico. Click here to read how to prepare linguine with shrimp, zucchini, and pesto.