Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy
Mary Ann's newest book contains over 150 recipes, 60 gorgeous food photos, and many scenic pictures of Italy taken by Mary Ann on her travels through the years.
SERVES 4 TO 6
Wild mint is the distinguishing flavor in this mushroom sauce for pappardelle, the wide noodle so popular in Tuscany. Teamed with an orchestra of assorted mushrooms, porcini, portobello, shitake, and oyster, it is easy to make and elegant enough for company. Traditionally this dish is served senza formaggio, without cheese.
3 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces assorted mushrooms, porcini, portobello, oyster, shitake, stemmed and thinly sliced
3 pounds fresh tomatoes, skinned, seeded and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup minced fresh mint
1/2 pound store bought or homemade pappardelle
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a sauté pan and cook the garlic until it is soft but not browned. Add the mushrooms along with the remaining olive oil and cook until they soften and render their juices. Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook the sauce covered over low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the mint and cook 1 minute longer. Turn off the heat and keep the sauce covered while the pappardelle cook.
Cook the pappardelle according to the directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water and add it to the sauce. Transfer the pappardelle to a bowl, stir in the sauce and serve piping hot.
Note: Adding herbs when a dish is almost cooked preserves more of its essential oil than adding them at the beginning, since too much cooking will destroy the taste.