The first time I had tagliatelle ai funghi done right, it was at Trattoria Stella in Serramazzoni, in the foothills of Modena, Italy. When a gastronomical memory persists for over 15 years, you know you had a true culinary pleasure. The beauty of tagliatelle ai funghi is the simplicity, and how the quality of each ingredient can be perceived in each and every bite. When prepared with fresh handmade egg pasta, the dish is divine. In the absence of freshly homemade egg pasta, substitute the best quality egg pasta (pasta al uovo) you can find. DeCecco makes one that is decent. So often similar versions of this pasta are made with a "cream sauce" which somehow becomes this thick and heavy white gravy like sauce. This dish is rich and flavorful, but the cream is actually quite light, and just adds to the richness of the flavor of the dish without weighing it down. Ideally, I would love to make this dish with fresh porcini mushrooms, but season and budget do not always allow. The following recipe is quite versatile, you can substitute mushrooms for whatever is fresh and seasonal in your area. Even when I use fresh mushrooms, I always used the dried porcini additionally, because they contribute a beautiful strong earthy flavor, and the water used to reconstitute them great to use at the end of cooking to toss with the final product.
1 lb. tagliatelle egg pasta, or homemade tagliatelle pasta all'uovo
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted
1/2 pound sliced white mushrooms
1/2 pound slliced brown or crimini mushrooms
4 tbsp. butter
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
salt to taste
freshly grated parmesan cheese to garnish
Before making the dish, you need to reconstitute the dried porcini mushrooms. Soak the mushroom in a bowl of very hot water for at least 30 minutes. Then, remove the mushrooms, towel dry, and slice into smaller pieces. Strain and reserve the liquid for later.
While you are preparing the mushrooms, put a large pot of salted water to boil. Most egg pasta cooks really quickly, less than 5 minutes, so plan accordingly.
In a large skillet, heat the butter until bubbly, then add the shallot and garlic. Saute for a few minutes until they soften. Next, Add the mushrooms, both fresh and the porcinis. Salt to taste. Saute over medium high heat for 10-15 minutes. The mushrooms should be nicely browned.
When mushrooms look just about done, drop your pasta into the boiling water and cook to desired doneness, it should be al dente. Drain the pasta, and add it to the skillet with the mushrooms, shallot, garlic. With the heat still at medium to medium high, add the parsley and heavy cream. Stir until all the ingredients are well blended. Let the cream reduce. If liquid is absorbed too quickly, add some of the porcini mushroom liquid, or additional cream if you wish. The sauce should coat the pasta nicely, but it should not be thick at all.
Serve your pasta with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and some fresh parsley. In terms of wine, I like a dry lambrusco with this dish. Your favorite red would surely be great, too. ENJOY!!!!!