Pasta alla Boscaiola (“woodsman-style pasta”) features a rich blend of mushrooms and bacon tossed with pasta in a silky garlic-herb tomato cream sauce. See notes above for potential ingredient variations.
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 6 ounces pancetta (or thick-cut bacon), finely diced
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, quartered
- 3 shallots, finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely-chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound uncooked pasta (I used mezzi rigatoni)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- freshly-grated Parmesan, for topping
- Soften the mushrooms. In a medium saucepan, stir together the broth and dried porcini. Bring the stock to a simmer over high heat. Then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
- Heat the pasta water. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously-salted water to a boil for the pasta.
- Fry the pancetta. Meanwhile, cook the pancetta in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3-5 minutes or until the fat has rendered. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pancetta to a clean plate and set aside. Leave about 1.5 tablespoons of the pancetta grease in the pan and discard the rest. (Or if there’s not enough grease, add a bit of olive oil at any point while sautéing the veggies.)
- Sauté the veggies. Add the quartered baby bella mushrooms to the pan and sauté in the pancetta grease, stirring occasionally, until browned. Add the shallots, garlic, rosemary, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, and a few twists of black pepper and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Continue the sauce. Gradually pour in the white wine and use a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, cooked pancetta and stir to combine.
- Chop the mushrooms. Meanwhile, transfer the cooked porcini mushrooms to a cutting board and roughly-chop them into bite-sized pieces. Transfer chopped mushrooms to the tomato sauce, along with 1 ½ cups of the porcini broth. (Be sure to filter the broth through a fine-mesh strainer to avoid any silt that may have gathered in the bottom of the pan.)
- Simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes, or however long it takes the pasta to cook.
- Cook the pasta. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until 1 minute shy of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain the pasta.
- Finish the pasta. Stir the cream into the tomato sauce. Then combine the tomato sauce and cooked pasta in the large stockpot and gently toss for 1-2 minutes until the pasta reaches al dente, adding in a few spoonfuls of the starchy pasta water at a time if needed to thin the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve. Serve immediately with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.