Penne with Wild Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce

Wild mushrooms start to become numerous in the woods near our village at the end of July. We all wait for the summer rains to begin and the air to become warm and humid, then we grab our baskets and head for the woods in hope of finding funghi.

Baskets of Wild Mushrooms

A Bowl of Russulas

Chanterelles

Salsa al Pomodoro – Basic Tomato Sauce

 As the family is the foundation of Italian society, basic tomato sauce is the foundation of many Italian meals. At my house my husband prepares tomato sauce most days of the week. Made in small quantities then served on its on with pasta or combined with other ingredients from our kitchen. The addition of a carrot and the lack of garlic may surprise you. My husband is from Northern Italy where most traditional recipes call for onion instead of garlic. The carrot is to balance the acid of the tomatoes. Some cooks will add a pinch of sugar but a carrot will achieve the same thing, supplying a nuance of flavor to the sauce.

 Basic Tomato Sauce – Salsa al Pomodoro

 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, grated

1 beef bullion cube

1 can 14 oz. (400 gr.) chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup water

 Place the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and saute until the onion is transparent and lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, water and beef bullion cube. Simmer the sauce over low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

 Penne con Salsa al Pomodoro e Funghi di Bosco

  • Penne with Tomato sauce and wild mushrooms

 To the ingredients for the basic tomato sauce add:

 1 to 2 cups wild mushrooms, chopped

Gather the Ingredients for Mushroom sauce

1 garlic clove, pressed

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  In a saucepan heat oil on medium heat. Saute onion and carrot until lightly golden.  Add mushrooms and saute until liquid has evaporated. Stir in garlic and mustard. Add tomatoes, water and bullion cube and simmer for 1 hour. Cook a package of penne ( 1 lb. – 450 gr.) in 4 quarts (litres) of hot salted water. When the pasta is ready pour it into a colander, drain well, then toss with the sauce. Serve immediately.  Makes 4 servings.

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