Pasta with Mushrooms, Chianti Style
(Pasta al Funghi alla Chiantigiana)
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 1/4 cups hot
5 tablespoons tomato paste
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
1 cup coarsely diced red onion
2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley, divided
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Chianti or other dry red wine
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
5 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound dried fettuccini
1/2 cup pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
1/2 cup coarsely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
Put the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl and add 2 1/4 cups hot water. Place
a small plate on top to keep mushrooms from floating and set aside 30 minutes. Drain,
saving 2 cups liquid.
Rinse mushrooms briefly and press in paper towels to remove excess water. Strain
the mushroom liquid through a paper towel-lined sieve. Put tomato paste in a bowl
and whisk in a little mushroom liquid until smooth. Then add remaining liquid, mixing
well. Set aside.
Trim stems from cremini mushrooms and wipe caps with a damp paper towel. Slice
thinly and set aside. Put reconstituted porcini mushrooms, red onion and garlic
on a cutting surface and chop together coarsely. Add half of parsley.
Heat olive oil in a 3 1/2 quart pan set over medium heat. Add fresh mushrooms
and chopped vegetable mixture; sauté , stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. (Reduce
heat slightly as vegetables begin to dry out.)
Add wine and simmer 5 minutes. Pour mushroom-tomato liquid into the pan and season
with some salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer; cook
30 minutes. Stir sauce occasionally.
Uncover and continue at a simmer 20 minutes.
Stir in remaining parsley.
Place a large pasta bowl in a warm oven. Bring 5 quarts water and 2 teaspoons
salt to a boil in a 10-quart pot. Add pasta and bring back to a full, rolling boil.
Stir well. Cook according to package directions, using the shortest cooking time.
Taste and continue cooking until pasta is al dente. Remove 1/2 cup pasta cooking
water, then drain.
Transfer pasta to warm bowl and toss with butter if using.