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One of my favourite bosses, when I cooked for the executive dining room, loved pasta and he would ask me why I never cooked it for him. So, one day I surprised him with this pasta, he was very pleased! Of course, I had to use a pasta shape that was easy to eat or they would splash sauce all over their suits! If you use dried porcini mushrooms often, it might be worthwhile to buy them in the larger bags from Bosa** or other Italian grocery stores. I store them in the freezer in an airtight container and they keep very well. That you can make the sauce ahead is a good thing when entertaining!
Makes 6 Servings
1 oz. (about 30 grams) dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup hot water
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 lb. hot Italian sausages, or ½ lb. each hot & mild, casings removed
1 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
½ tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled or 1 ½ tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped fine
½ cup dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1 cup beef stock**or tinned unsalted broth
1 ¼ lbs. rigatoni pasta
1 cup creamo (half & half)
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano + additional for serving
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
2 – 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
Place the porcini in a small bowl & pour 1 cup hot water over; let soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain porcini, reserving soaking liquid. Chop porcini, discarding any hard stems. Set aside. Line a sieve with either 2 layers of rinsed cheesecloth or a damp, small coffee filter & pour the reserved soaking liquid through to remove any sediment or sand.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Warm a large pasta serving bowl in a 180 F. oven.
Melt butter in a heavy, large skillet over medium heat. Add onion & cook until beginning to soften, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add sausage, increase heat to high & cook just until no longer pink, breaking up lumps with a fork, about 6 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms & dried rosemary (if using fresh add later) & stir until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add porcini, wine & bay leaf & boil until almost all liquid evaporates, about 4 minutes. Add stock & porcini soaking liquid. Simmer until sauce is syrupy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. The sauce can be made 2 days ahead, cool slightly, chill until cold, cover & keep chilled.)
When the water is boiling, add the pasta, stirring for a minute to prevent sticking; cook until al dente (tender but still firm to the bite.) Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water & drain the pasta in a colander.
Meanwhile, add the creamo & fresh rosemary (if using) to the sauce & boil until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the pasta to the sauce; stirring to coat with the sauce. Add the Parmigiano & season with salt & pepper to taste, tossing to combine. If the pasta appears to be dry, add a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water. Pour the pasta into the heated serving bowl; sprinkle with the chopped parsley & serve, passing additional Parmigiano.
**If you would like to make homemade stock, please see Making Stock.
**If you would like to visit Bosa, please see My Source List for their two locations.