PASTA WITH PORCINI, PISELLI E PANNA (Spaghetti with Porcini mushooms, peas and cream)

 For those of you who know me personally, it's no secret I could eat pasta 365 days a year.  This is a great and flavorful dish that doesn't take long to prepare at all.   I came home with a bag of Italian Porcinii mushrooms  from New York. Be sure and get the kind that cultivated in Italy.  These days there are many in the local markets and it does make a difference.    I just couldn't resist opening up and using a handful. of these for this dish.  Dried mushrooms  are soaked and reconstituted.  The intense flavor of the mushrooms adds an earthy texture to this dish.   Fresh green peas are added and cooked in  white wine and a dab of  salted whipped cream is added.  In Italy, Panna is available ready made.  I like to add just a little along with a sprinkling of Parmigiano to give this dish creaminess.  I used spaghetti  tonight but virtually any tubular shape will do. You want a pasta that will hold the sauce well.   What a great ending to a long day travelling.

Ingredients for 6 people:
4 tablespoons olive oil.
3 cloves of garlic/diced fine
1 shallot diced fne
2 handfuls Italian Porcini mushrooms
Water left from their soak (About 3 cups room temperature water)
1 cup of white wine
2 cups of fresh, green peas.  Frozen peas are fine for this dish.
1/2 pint whipping cream
one pinch of salt for whipping cream
one large pinch of salt for pasta water
one pound of Spaghetti or your favorite pasta

Soak your Porcini mushrooms in 3 cups of water for one hour.  You must do this to reconstitute them.  Drain the tiny bits of dirt and grains from your mushrooms  and reserve your water.  The water is an important part of this dish as it adds great flavor.   Your mushrooms with look and feel soft.  Cut into dime size pieces.  Heat your olive oil and add your garlic and shallot.  Saute until fragrant and your shallot looks transparent.   Add you cut mushrooms and saute.  Add you first cup of liquid.   Let reduce until your mushrooms seem to be sticking to the pan.  At this point I add several teaspoons  of salt to the mushrooms.  Add your white wine and another cup of the liquid your porcini have soaked in.  It will reduce in 5-7 minutes.  When the mushrooms are reduced, add your peas.  Add another cup of liquid.  Cook again for 5-7 minutes and let continue to reduce.  Your peas will cook and stay firm.  They will also add and interesting texture to this dish filled with flavor.   When you begin to see oil separating from the pan, remove from heat and set aside.  Into a chilled bowl, whip your cream with a pinch of salt.  Set aside in refrigerator to stay cold until ready to toss.  In the meantime cook your pasta in salted water until al dente.  Reserve about 3 tablespoons of cooking water and add to your porcini. mixture.  The starches in the water will help give this dish some added creaminess and help bind your ingredients when tossed.   Drain your pasta when al dente,  into your skillet over your mixture.  Add your whipping cream and toss.  Serve in bowls with Parmigiano cheese and  Several sprigs of parsley for garnish.
Who would not want to come home to that?  Buon Appetito!


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