For the past few days, I’ve enjoying life as a local in Bologna. I first came here to take part in the BlogVille project, a cool initiative organized by the Tourism Board of the Emilia Romagna region; for which they’ve invited bloggers to come and stay for a few days in an apartment and experience firsthand what their region has to offer. One of the things that got me excited about participating, was the chance to have a kitchen where I could experiment and cook with the amazing local ingredients you find here. What can I say? I’m a simple girl!
Luckily for me, the BlogVille flat was located not far from a cluster of streets formed by Via Drapperie, Via Pescherie Vecchie and Via degli Orefice. There you can find all sorts of delicious foods: from fresh seasonal veggies, to a huge variety of cheeses and cold meats, and, of course, fresh pasta! Anytime I’d pass by I wouldn’t be able to contain myself and I’d buy something. One day in particular, after a conversation with an Italian friend, I had a craving for porcini mushrooms; I didn’t really know how they looked, how much they’d cost, or how to cook them. I just knew that they taste damn good!
So I set out on a mission to get me some porcini… Once I found a store that sold some fresh ones, I asked the lady in my broken Italian to sell me two. She put them in a paper bag and weighed them; then she raised her eyes and looked at me, telling me that it’d cost 17€ for those TWO mushrooms! I said, no thank you! Just give me one, the biggest one… And that’s how I got my 10€ mushroom. Now, I didn’t want to mess this one up; so I asked the lady, the interwebs and any friend with a drop of Italian blood running through their veins about how to cook a porcini mushroom. And the simplest answer I got from everyone was surprisingly the same. So here it goes…
What you will need (besides your very own 10€ porcini mushroom)…
Some chopped garlic, according to your personal taste
Some olive oil
Pasta, I choose spaghetti; but you can do whatever you want.
Some peperoncino (chilies)
Some parsley or basil for garnishing
How to do it…
First things first, pour yourself a glass of wine, select some nice cooking music and start heating the water for the pasta. To clean the porcini mushroom, you just need to brush them off with a dry or semi-damp cloth. Then, you can proceed to chop them! I just diced mine and it turned out OK :)
When you’re ready, heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic (remember to keep the fire low at this point or the garlic will burn, and that ain’t nice!). Add the pasta to the boiling water and pour yourself another glass of wine ;) Enjoy the aroma of the oil and garlic mixing together, and after a couple of minutes add the porcini mushroom.
It doesn’t take long for the porcini to cook and absorb the oil, so you should only cook them for 2 – 3 minutes only. In the meantime, add the peperoncino and salt. And that’s pretty much it! Drain the pasta, put the porcini and garlic mix on top, sprinkle your herbs and add more olive oil if you think it’s too dry.
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