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 interesting 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 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