This dish uses ingredients that can be found year-round (if you use dried mushrooms), but we like it best in the fall, when fresh mushrooms are available and the cooler weather makes us crave a hearty sauce. You can serve it as a starter for 6 people or make a main course out of it for 4 people.
This recipe was featured as part of our How to Make Pancetta story.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 1 hr 15 mins
- Active: 35 mins
- 3 fresh porcini mushrooms (or 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dry white vermouth
- 3/4 pound pancetta, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
- 1/2 medium white onion, medium dice
- 6 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 pound fettuccine (can substitute linguine)
- 3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings, for garnish
- 4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
- If using fresh mushrooms, clean the dirt off all surfaces; cut off and discard the base of the stems. Separate the stems from the caps and thinly slice everything. Combine sliced mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the vermouth; set aside to macerate for 30 minutes. If using dried mushrooms, combine them in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the vermouth. Cover mixture with warm water and set aside for 30 minutes to reconstitute mushrooms.
- Cut pancetta slices into 1/4-inch squares. Heat remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes.
- Add mushroom mixture (with liquid), onion, and garlic to pancetta. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until garlic and onions are soft and sauce is slightly reduced.
- Once mixture has reduced, lower heat to medium low, add cream, and let simmer 5 minutes more. Set aside.
- Cook pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, rewarm sauce over low heat. When pasta is cooked, drain it, return it to the stockpot, and add sauce. Mix well.
- Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings and parsley and serve.
Beverage pairing: This full-flavored pasta deserves an elegant red with hints that complement the earthy richness of the porcini and bacon. A red from the cooler northern Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige is one great way to go. From the DOC of Teroldego Rotaliano try the 2003 Foradori Teroldego Rotaliano, with its nuances of pomegranate, hibiscus, and bright Bing cherry.