AN HOMAGE TO TUSCANY
Pasta in a wild mushroom ragù is a rustic and soulful Italian dish that is blissfully versatile—don’t be afraid to experiment with a variety of wild mushrooms. We like to use a mix of fungi that’s locally available and in-season. If you want to remain true to the dish’s humble Tuscan origins, try to incorporate some porcini into your mix.
There are, too, countless regional variations that call for different kinds of pasta from tagliatelle to penne to rigatoni. For this rendition, we chose pappardelle, a flat, ribboned pasta that’s also Tuscan in origin. It cooks up quickly, in around three minutes, and it’s effortlessly elegant on the plate.
The dish has a natural affinity for full-bodied, oak-aged chardonnay. It’s a classic pairing where the interplay of the earthy umami savoriness of the fungi and parmesan can be exhilarating when paired next to a wine that’s round, rich, and opulently creamy. Our Chardonnays are generally leaner and more acid-driven, we’ve paired it with our 2016 Three Hills Cuvée Chardonnay, adding just a splash of cream and not too much cheese to match the brighter personality of the wine. The really interesting and non-traditional ingredient is the addition of just a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, borrowed from an old-school quiche au formage recipe, that really pulls out the baking spice notes that are a hallmark of Lange Chardonnays.
1/4 cup pancetta, cubed
2 pounds mixed wild mushrooms (such as golden chanterelles, morels, porcini, cremini, oyster, shitake, maitake), stems removed and sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound pappardelle
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, stems removed and chopped
Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated, for serving
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a large sauté pan, cook the pancetta over medium heat until the fat begins to render. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to reduce and lose their moisture. Add the minced shallot and garlic and cook for another 2-5 minutes until the shallots are a light golden brown.
Meanwhile, bring six quarts of salted water to boil. Drop in the pasta and cook it until it is just al dente, around three minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, pour the heavy cream over the sautéed mushrooms, and stir. Add the pasta to the mushroom ragù and gently mix it until it is evenly coated. Grate nutmeg over the top, be sparing, you just need a little!
Evenly divide the pasta and mushrooms between four pasta bowls. Top with grated Parmigiano Reggiano, parsley, and coarsely ground black pepper. Serve immediately.