In October this is a must in Italy.
It’s always the same story: it’s all about the quality of the ingredients.
The best mushrooms, in Italy, are the ones from an altitude between 600 to 900 mt (above sea level), around chestnuts trees.
It’s very hard to find them, the good ones, I mean. Everybody wants them, and not only you have to pay a lot for them (between 20 and 40 € per kilo), but also, you have to know somebody who can find them for you.
We got ours from Simo, who collected them in Abetone, a beautiful mountain one hour and a half away from Florence, on the Appennini.
Porcini and Ovuli from Abetone mountain, in Tuscany.
You will not find the good ones in any store or market, unless you go to the mountain.
You can still find them yourself, if you know where to go, and you’re happy with walking in the wood at night.
We prepared the smallest (and youngest) ones, that are more crunchy, raw in carpaccio style.
With the rest, we made an amazing pasta.
Ingredients for two people:
- 1 Kg of Porcini and Ovoli mushrooms
- 200 g of pasta (penne or tagliatelle)
- Olive oil extravergine from Florence or Siena
- Black pepper
Clean the mushrooms, gently, with cold water and a little brush (eventually a toothbrush)
Take the smallest caps, that are crunchy, and cut them in very thin slices. Lay them on a dark dish, and serve with a line of olive oil, some lemon, salt and black pepper.
Carpaccio Ovuli Porcini, chose the little crunchy caps.
Cut the rest of the mushrooms in pieces, about 3/4 cm width and height.
Ovoli from Abetone, these ones are wide open, but you can find them still closed (we used them for the carpaccio).
Warm up some olive oil (a spoon) in a non-stick pan, and throw them in. Medium heat and cover for the first 5 minutes.
Ovoli and Porcini cut for pasta.
As soon as they have released some water, you can remove the cap, rise up the heat and add some salt and black pepper.
Cook with high heat for 10/15 minutes. As soon as they start to dry up, slowly reduce the heat, and keep cooking for another 10/15 minutes.
In the mean time, throw the pasta in a pot with boiling water. Add salt as soon as the water will boil again.
Remove the pasta well in advance (2 or 3 minutes earlier), and save some of its water in a cup.
Finish to cook the pasta in the pan with the mushrooms.
Serve with freshly cut parsley and more black pepper.
With the carpaccio, we had a very delicate white wine, from Spain. You need something young fresh and light, not to cover the delicate taste of the mushrooms carpaccio.
We had a Rias Baixas (from the north of Spain), called Granbazàn. Any other Rias Baixas, or young, light yellow fresh white wine wold work.
Rias Baixas, Granbazàn, fruity and fresh, very light. notes of citrus and white flowers notes.
With the pasta, we had a red wine. With a good strong body, but still young. We had a Poggio Bonelli, from 2012. It’s a Chianti Classico, close to the border with Chianti Colli Senesi.
A fruity intense and flowers flavored wine, with a very brilliant colour and character. Not too strong to cover the mushrooms, but with enough personality to support them. Amazing experience.