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Tagliatelle with Wild Mushrooms, Speck and Walnuts - Tagliatelle Coi Funghi

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Speck is the smoked prosciutto made in the Alto Adige, and it has a wonderfully woodsy feel about it that nicely complements both wild mushrooms and walnuts in this very tasty fall pasta sauce. The Italian recipe calls for Cardoncelli, Pleurotus eryngii, which are known in English as king trumpet mushrooms, French horn mushrooms, or king oyster mushrooms. If you cannot find them use richly flavored fairly firm wild mushrooms of choice.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings tagliatelle

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound (350 g) fresh tagliatelle, or if need be 2/3 pound (300 g) dry tagliatelle
  • 2/3 pound (300 g) mushrooms, roots trimmed and stems wiped clean of dirt
  • 1/4 pound (100 g) speck, in a single thick slice
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) well drained ricotta
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) shelled walnut halves, chopped
  • A small onion, peeled and chopped
  • A small bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • A small bunch fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white wine
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Set pasta water to boil. When it does, salt it and cook the pasta.

In the meantime, thinly slice the mushrooms lengthwise. Slice the speck into thin sticks.

Dilute the ricotta with a couple of tablespoons of the hot pasta water.

When the water is close to boiling, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a broad deep skillet and sauté the speck for 2-3 minutes, until it colors. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring, as they wilt; when they have lightly salt them and sprinkle the wine over them.

Continue to cook for a few minutes more; while you are doing this cook the tagliatelle. Since they are fresh they will be done in 3-4 minutes (if you are using dry tagliatelle adjust the cooking time per the package). Drain the tagliatelle as soon as they reach the al dente stage and turn them into the skillet. Add the ricotta and mix well over a brisk flame.

Remove from the flames, dust with the chopped herbs, and serve at once.

The wine? White, and I would be tempted by a Chardonnay from Trentino Alto Adige.

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