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Pappardelle alla Boscaiola
The phrase alla boscaiola translates to “in the style of the woodsman.” To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever met a woodsman, but there is a lovely woodsy quality about this dish: broad ribbons of pappardelle or fat bucatini noodles (your choice) tossed with meaty, rosemary-scented mushrooms and finished with a snowy shower of pecorino cheese. I especially like to use leftover Ragù all’Aburzzese for this recipe, because the sauce, which is richly flavored with beef, lamb, and pork, adds an extra dimension of flavor.
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, lightly crushed
- 8 ounces mixed fresh mushrooms, trimmed (see Cook’s Note)
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- ½ cup smooth tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 pound dried pappardelle or bucatini
- Freshly grated pecorino romano cheese for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously.
Place the olive oil and garlic in a large, deep frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic, stirring occasionally, for 3–4 minutes, or until fragrant but not browned. Add all the mushrooms and rosemary. Raise the heat to medium-high and cook the mushrooms without turning them for about 2 minutes, or until they are browned on the underside. Toss and then cook them for another 2 minutes or so before tossing them again. Continue to cook the mushrooms in this way for about 15 minutes total, or until they are golden brown. Remove and discard the garlic.
Stir in the ragù and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the salt, season with pepper, and stir in the parsley. Turn off the heat and cover the pan to keep the mushrooms warm.
Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir to separate the noodles, and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta in a colander set in the sink, reserving about 1 cup of the cooking water.
Transfer the pasta to the frying pan and gently toss the pasta and sauce to combine thoroughly, adding a splash or two of the cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Transfer the dressed pasta to warmed shallow individual bowls and sprinkle with the cheese. Serve immediately.
Pappardelle Pasta in Wild Mushroom Sauce (Pappardelle alla boscaiola)
Pasta with a mushroom sauce known as "boscaiola" (meaning something like "forest-style" or "woodman's style") is one of the most common Italian restaurant dishes, and you will encounter it on menus throughout Italy.
This recipe calls for porcini mushrooms, Boletus edulis, and they are necessary to do it justice. Ideally, you should use fresh porcini, but if you cannot find them you will have to make do by using a mixture of plain fresh mushrooms and dried porcini: purchase cultivated mushrooms and a 20-gram (1-ounce) packet of dried porcini (this will be about 1/2 cup, packed if you want, you can use more, but don't exaggerate). Steep the dried mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes, then mince them and add them to the cultivated mushrooms. Carefully strain the steeping liquid, since it may contain sand, and add it to the sauce as well.
Another option, in the absence of fresh porcini, is to use whatever wild mushrooms are available where you live, combining them with some cultured mushrooms if need be and some steeped dried porcini. One last thing: This recipe calls for pappardelle, which are broad (1-inch) strips of pasta. You can, if you want, use fettuccine (1/2-inch strips), tagliatelle, or a hollow form such as penne.
Recipe: Pappardelle alla Boscaiola
Chef Gino D’Acampo, author of “Pasta Italiana” (Kyle, $24.95), teams pappardelle pasta (wide noodles) with a cream sauce that showcases Parmigiano-Reggiano. Feel free to use Grana Padano in this easy-to-prepare dish, if you prefer.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large white onion, halved from top to bottom, thinly sliced
- 2 cups diced cooked ham
- 2 3/4 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 18 ounces dried pappardelle
- 3 tablespoons freshly chopped Italian parsley
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano
1. In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium heat and cook the onion for about 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Add ham and mushrooms cook an additional 3 minutes.
2. Pour in cherry tomatoes and stir well. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 8 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Pour in cream and season with salt and pepper. Mix everything together remove from heat and set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on high heat. Add pappardelle and cook until al dente (tender but with a little bite). Drain and return to the same pan. Pour in the sauce and add parsley. Gently stir for 30 seconds. Serve immediately with the freshly grated cheese sprinkled on top.
Nutrition information (per serving): 330 calories (49 percent from fat), 17 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 30 g carbohydrates, 15 g protein, 720 mg sodium, 2 g fiber
Source: adapted from “Pasta Italiana” by Gino D’Acampo (Kyle, $24.95)
- In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onions in olive oil until lightly golden. Add the sausage and break apart with a fork. When the sausage is lightly browned, add the white wine and allow to evaporate.
- In a separate skillet, heat some olive oil and add the mushrooms, cooking until they render liquid and then reduce. Add to the sausage mixture. Add in the tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 30 minutes until reduced.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente (one minute less than the package instructions). Drain and add to the skillet with the mushrooms. Mix well. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmigiano.
Possible additions or substitutions: Add 1 cup peas to the skillet 5 minutes prior to end of cooking. Or add ½ cup heavy cream when the tomatoes are added. Or, substitute 6 ounces pancetta, cut into thick strips, in lieu of the sausage.
So herein lies the difference between Italy and America: Paul Bunyan. In America, Paul Bunyan is the fabled lumberjack of yore. He and his blue ox weathered many a severe winter and fearsome critter, but he still managed to cut down a million trees a year. He was colossal, larger than life, and he delivered the lumber, no matter the weather conditions.
In Italy, the "boscaiolo," or lumberjack, is prized for his ability to forage for mushrooms, hence the name for this pasta. While the legendary boscaiolo was out cutting down trees, he made sure to return from the woods with a few porcini in his pockets, ready to cook with pasta.
And who would you rather be? Big and freezing with an ox and a million logs in North Dakota? Or snug and warm at home with a few logs and your papardelle alla boscaiola? A rhetorical question, of course.
3 thoughts on &ldquoPappardelle alla Boscaiola (Mushrooms)&rdquo
Great recipe! My mom used to add peas. I personally like that addition very much. My hips would be less fond of the heavy cream, but I know how glorious that taste is. Grazie Eduardo!
Cannot wait to make this. In a few weeks will be able to have it! Yummy
Are you visiting “Casa Italiana” any time soon?
the cream and peas give a luscious texture just wiggle the hips for exercise and resist the leftovers for breakfast?
Today I would like to share with you my Pappardelle alla Boscaiola..
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Wine Pairings for Pappardelle alla Boscaiola (Mushrooms)
A pasta packed with both mushrooms and sausage begs to take on a good red wine. This combo works best with a red-fruited wine, and Sangiovese is its calling card. In a pinch, some earthy whites driven by Chardonnay or Trebbiano might work, but this dish is truly best with a red. To give it a double-fist pump, make sure it’s a red with some age.
Whether it is a Chianti Classico Riserva or an IGT (Indicazione di Geografica Tipica), the options are plenty. It will take some advance planning, but look into a wine that has 4+ years of age on it to maximize the potential between the dish’s savoriness and the wine’s subtle development of flavors. It is easy to find wines from 2010 through 2012 on the market now, but they will be so fruit-driven they won’t highlight the earthy brilliance of this pasta. If you’re taking the time to make an excellent meal, it’s worth taking the time to find the right wine pairing, too!
Christy Canterbury, Master of Wine (MW)
Notes about this recipe
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Pappardelle pasta with mushroom sauce - pappardelle alla boscaiola
1 pound (400 g) pappardelle, ideally freshly made
3/4 pound (350 g) porcini
3/4 pound (350 g) canned tomatoes
A small bunch of parsley
A clove of garlic
The leaves of a sprig of rosemary
A few leaves of sage
Dry white wine
Salt & pepper to taste
Heavy cream (optional, see below)
Freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano
1. Steep the dried mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes, then mince them and add them to the cultivated mushrooms. Strain the steeping liquid, since it may contain sand, and add it to the sauce as well. The other option, in the absence of fresh porcini, is to use the wild mushrooms available where you live, combining them with some cultured mushrooms if need be and some steeped dried porcini. A last thing: This recipe calls for pappardelle, which are broad (1-inch) strips of pasta. You can, if you want, use fettuccine (half-inch strips) or a hollow form such as penne or tortiglioni, and indeed, on many restaurant menus you'll find penne alla boscaiola.
2. Returning to the recipe:
Clean the mushrooms, brushing the dirt away from the stems, and separate the caps from the stems dice the stems and cube the caps, keeping them separate.
3. Mince the shallots and the herbs and sauté them for a few minutes in 4 tablespoons of oil in a casserole. Add the diced stems, cook another minute, and then add a half cup of wine and the tomatoes. Season with a little pepper and simmer the mixture over a very gentle flame for a half hour. Add a little more wine and a drop of water (or the liquid the mushrooms steeped in if you are using dried mushrooms), and the cubed caps.
4. Continue simmering the sauce over a gentle flame. Depending upon how much moisture the mushrooms contain you may need to add more liquid -- a splash of wine and a little hot water, or if you'd rather a quarter cup of heavy cream, and, if need be, a little water.
5. In the meantime bring pasta water to a boil, salt it, and cook the pappardelle. Drain the pappardelle and season them with the sauce serve them with grated cheese for those who want it.
Pappardelle with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce
Autumn in Tuscany means pappardelle ai funghi e panna, a classic seasonal pasta dish with hearty mushrooms and cream sauce. Porcini are typically the mushroom of choice, found wild throughout the forests in Tuscany and prevalent after rainfall. Tourists and Italians alike flock to these areas to go mushroom hunting or to participate at many of the sagre, “festivals” that give homage to this prized ingredient.
Apart from fresh mushrooms, the key to making this dish sing is to make your own homemade pappardelle. Silky egg based pasta dough is rolled out and cut into long noodles around 1 inch wide. In Tuscany, Pappardelle are often served with mushrooms or a rich ragu made with wild boar meat (cinghiale).
Make the dough:
Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and add the flour, salt and eggs. Mix on speed 1 for 3-5 minutes, stopping the stand mixer at least once to scrape down the sides. When the mixture comes together as a homogeneous ball, check to see if it’s the right consistency by pushing against the dough with your finger. If it leaves an imprint (like a ripe peach) and doesn’t stick to your finger, it’s ready. If the dough, however, is sticky turn the stand mixer back on and gradually add a little more flour, stopping every so often to check the consistency until it no longer sticks to your finger. If the dough doesn’t come together in a ball, add a tablespoon of water at a time until it does. (If you add too much just incorporate more flour until arriving at the consistency mentioned above.)
If you don’t have a stand mixer, make a well with the flour on a large workspace, add the salt and eggs. Use a fork beat the eggs and gradually push the flour towards the egg and beat all together until the mixture comes together in a single mass. Knead by hand until it’s homogeneous about 10-15 minutes.
Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Make the sauce:
In a large skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until soft and translucent about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chopped mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste and continue to cook until soft 7-8 minutes. Pour in the cream, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and parsley and cook for 1 minute until the cream is slightly reduced. Remove from heat.
Make the pappardelle:
Attach the pasta roller accessory and sprinkle some flour on top. Divide the dough into four pieces. Take one and shape it into a flat rectangle and flour generously on top and bottom. Keep the rest of the dough covered with plastic wrap. Pass the rectangular shaped dough through the machine on speed 1 at 0 thickness setting. Fold the two ends towards the center then pass it through again. Repeat one more time so the edges are rectangular, then pass the dough through the roller reducing the thickness from number 0 to 5 each time. Keep the sheet and roller floured as you go. Generously flour a large wooden board and lay the pasta sheet on top. Repeat for the remaining dough.
If you are rolling out the dough with a rolling pin, roll it out on a lightly floured work space.
Lightly flour both sides with semolina and let the pasta sheets dry out for 5-10 minutes. Roll each side of the sheet towards the middle and cut 1 inch slices. Unravel the rolled dough so that the long ribbons lay out.
Cook the pasta:
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Generously salt the water and taste it. It should taste salty like the sea.
Cook the pappardelle for 4-5 minutes then check one to see if it is ready. The pasta should be “al dente” or slightly firm. If it is not ready, continue to cook for 1 minute and check again. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.
Return the skillet with the mushroom sauce to cook on low heat. Add the cooked pasta to the mushroom sauce along with a tablespoon or two of pasta water. Heat until liquid has reduced and stir until well combined. Serve hot with more Parmigiano Reggiano if desired. Buon appetito!