As I’ve said many times before I love mushrooms. This is a classic Italian pasta done in the style of the “boscaiolo” or “mushroom hunter.” It’s simple, rustic & incredibly rich and satisfying, particularly for a dish which does not contain any meat.
INGREDIENTS (serves 6-8):
-1/2 pound of brown button mushrooms, chopped into 1/2 inch slices
-1 pound best quality dry spaghetti such as Rustichello di Abruzzo
-1 can (28 ounces) of whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
-1 tablespoon of chili flakes or hot Controne pepper
-Extra virgin olive oil
-Fine sea salt
-1 clove of garlic, coarsely chopped
-1 cup of fresh mint, coarsely chopped
In a large saute pan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. When almost smoking add the mushrooms and saute for 5-7 minutes or until slightly brown and caramelized. Salt the mushrooms with 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt and continue cooking. Turn down the heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and sweat until translucent–not browned–for 30 seconds.
Pour in the tomatoes and stir through. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Salt the sauce with 1 tablespoon of salt. Stir through and turn down the heat to medium low to a gently simmer. Continue cooking, salting once more with 1 tablespoon of salt, until the sauce has come together, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm on the stove top.
Bring a pot of water to the boil and salt aggressively (4-6 tablespoons). Drop your pasta and cook until “al dente,” removing the pasta from the pot about 30 seconds before done. A minute or two before removing the pasta from the water bring your sauce back to a boil. Add the red pepper flakes and stir through. Drain the pasta. Add the mint to the sauce and stir through.
Add the pasta to the saute pan and toss through over high heat for 30 seconds. Turn off the heat. Continue tossing. Using tongs plate the pasta. Spoon a bit of sauce (be sure to include the mushrooms) onto the top of each plate. Serve immediately.