Orecchiette Coi Funghi

Ingredients

  • 2/3 pound (300 g) fresh porcini or other wild mushrooms
  • 1/4 pound (100 g) pancetta, thinly sliced and then cut crosswise
  • Half a medium onion, minced
  • 1 mozzarella (a ball about 2 inches in diameter), sliced thinly
  • 1-2 thin slices cooked ham, shredded
  • Grated pecorino
  • Tomato sauce to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 pound (400 g) orecchiette

How to make Orecchiette coi funghi:

A tasty Puglian sauce that calls for porcini, but orecchiette con i funghi can be made with other wild mushrooms as well. It won’t work well with champignons, because they aren’t mushroomy enough. The recipe, an exciting variation on baked pasta, is drawn from Luigi Sada’s La Cucina Pugliese and will serve 4:

How to make the orecchiette con i funghi (orecchiette with mushrooms): clean the mushrooms, washing them if need be, dice them, and sauté them with the pancetta and the onion. After a few minutes, add tomato sauce (I wouldn’t add more than a half cup) a little water, a pinch of salt, and simmer until you obtain a thick sauce.

While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta until half is done in abundant lightly salted water. Drain it well, and preheat your oven to 360 f (180 C). Spread a thin layer of the mushroom sauce over the bottom of a heat-proof dish, then a layer of pasta, then one of mozzarella and ham, another of orecchiette, and the remaining sauce — dust well with grated cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve the orecchiette con i funghi hot with a fairly full-bodied white wine: Soave would be nice, as would be Vernaccia.

Serves 4

Regional recipe from Apulia

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Enrico Massetti was born in Milan, Italy.
Now he lives in Washington, DC, USA.
Still, he regularly visits his hometown
and enjoys going around all the places in his home country
especially those he can reach by public transportation.

Enrico loves writing guide books on travel in Italy
to help his friends that go to Italy to visit
and enjoy his old home country.
He also publishes books on the Argentine tango dance.

You can reach Enrico at enricomassetti@msn.com.