This rich, warming, autumnal dish is Milk Street’s version of pasta alla boscaiola, or woodsman’s pasta, which features earthy, meaty mushrooms. For varied flavor and texture, use a mix of different types of fungi, but thanks to the alliums, pancetta, cream and Parmesan that play supporting roles, the pasta is delicious even if made only with basic creminis. A little white wine is added for flavor-lifting acidity, and tomato puree to tie together all the elements .
Even though you might love them, don’t use portobello mushrooms for this recipe. Unless the gills are scraped off, their inky color will make the sauce dark and murky. Additionally, portobello caps are too large and thick for sauces like this one.
Instead of the suggested ziti or gemelli, we used a whole grain reginetti from Sfoglini—Bottom line: Sfoglini pastas are made with organic grains grown on North American farms which are always milled in the US. We also lowered the amount from one pound to 12 ounces. Finally, we increasing the pancetta from 4 ounces to almost 7 (because that is what we had on hand).
Here’s the thing about Sfoglini pasta: It combines the very best of Italian technique and American ingredients. Day in, day out, that’s the balance they strive to achieve. What does that mean? For starters, it means traditional bronze dies and plates on everything they make, which results in the beautiful, rough texture on your pasta (which makes the sauce stick!). In addition, they slow-dry every one of our pastas at a low temperature to preserve both flavor and nutrients.
You will need to reserve one cup of the pasta water when it is done. An easy trick to help you remember is putting a measuring cup into the colander that is in the sink. As you go to pour out the pasta water, the measuring cup will remind you to reserve some before you pour it all down the drain. If that does happen however, you can immediately pour one cup of hot water back into the drained pasta, let it set for a few minutes, then pour the liquid back into a measuring cup.
Reginetti with Mushrooms, Tomato and Pancetta
- 1 lb. Reginetti (or penne, ziti or gemelli)
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 oz. pancetta, finely chopped
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 lb. mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, oyster or stemmed shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 1 14½-oz. can tomato puree (1½ cups)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely grated (½ cup), plus more to serve
- In a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain and return the pasta to the pot.
- Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet, combine the oil, pancetta, onion and garlic. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until the pancetta is lightly browned and the onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the wine and cook, stirring, until almost evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the moisture they release evaporates, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato puree and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the mushroom mixture to the pasta in the pot, along with the cream, ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and the cheese. Cook over medium, stirring, until the sauce clings to the pasta, 3 to 4 minutes; add more pasta water as needed so the sauce lightly coats the noodles.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with additional cheese.
Original recipe by Rose Hattabaugh for Milk Street