Super Simple and Quick Porcini Pasta

Last night we were in a pinch – it was getting late, and we had to make something for dinner that didn’t require a trip to the grocery store. Thanks to Eliana, we had a bag full of porcini mushrooms, picked and dried by her grandmother in Italy! We wanted to do something a little different from our normal porcini risotto, but most of the porcini pasta recipes we consulted required heavy cream, something we did not have.

So, we improvised. Here is a SUPER simple and quick porcini pasta that can be made with ridiculously few ingredients:

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • a handful of dried porcini mushrooms. This is the minimum. More is better.
  • enough beef bouillon cubes to make about 2 cups of broth
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1Tbsp butter (optional)
  • one box of dry pasta (of course fresh would be great if you have it!)
  1. soak the dried porcini in warm or hot water for 10-15 minutes.
  2. start boiling the water for the pasta at this time.
  3. remove the porcini without discarding the water – wring dry, set aside. Chop up the larger pieces, if desired.
  4. pour the remaining porcini juice through a sieve (I use 2 plies of paper towl) into a microwaveable container.
  5. add enough beef bouillon cubes to this porcini juice to make beef-porcini broth, then microwave until hot.
  6. peel, chop and fry the garlic in 2-3 Tbsp of olive oil on low heat.
  7. add the butter (if desired) and porcini, stir-fry for a coupe of minutes.
  8. add the beef-porcini broth and stir to make sure the bouillon(s) have dissolved. Let simmer on low heat until the pasta is ready (al dente!), then coat the pasta in this broth and serve. There will be no “sauce” left, but the pasta will absorb all the flavor, color and aroma of the porcini mushrooms.

May not exactly be restaurant-quality, but given the time and effort involved, it’s deceptively good. This dish was gobbled up as quickly as it was made. Enjoy!

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