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pappardelle con porcini

posted by:  audra

quite possibly one of my most favorite things to do ever is making pasta.  sort of like making your own chicken stock or marshmallows.  very satisfying.

friday evening i was quailing in agony trying to decide on dinner.  in a panic, i suggested one of my most loved recipes, pappardelle con porcini.  super easy, this one.   i’m not certain why i love it so much, but it’s likely due to the silky, fat ribbons of pappardelle.  i just love long & wide noodles.  really,  all sexual innuendos aside, who doesn’t?

sigh.  anyway.  the grocery trip was a nightmare, as usual.  this particular grocer didn’t have any flat-leaf parsley in stock.  now, i detest curly parsley.  i hate it so much.  i think i hate it more than sam hates heelys…really!  but i had to settle.   and this store did not have a single porcini mushroom in sight.  so, again, i settled.  on creminis.  it was either that, or white buttons…

but moving on…this little gem is from the darling lidia bastianich.  i see her show on pbs occasionally, lidia’s italy, & i’m totally in love with her.  so cute.  she’s the grandmother i dream of having.

okay, ready?  it’s a long one.  pour your drink now.  here we go…

pappardelle con porcini

papardelle with fresh porcini mushrooms

for the pasta:

2 cups unbleached flour, sifted

1/4 tsp. good kosher salt

3 eggs, beaten

1/2 tsp. olive oil

1 tbs. warm water, or more, if needed

for the sauce:

1/4 cup porcini mushrooms, trimmed & sliced…or, of course, creminis or whatever wild mushroom you have lying around

4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed…i crushed & sliced mine

good kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 tbs. unsalted butter

3 tbs. chopped flat-leaf parsley

3/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano…and for god’s sake, get the real parmigiano-reggiano

pasta instructions:

in a food processor, combine the flour & salt & pulse a few times to blend.  mix the eggs with the oil & add to the mixture.  turn the machine on, & gradually drizzle in the water, beginning with the smaller amount.  put too much in, & it will be gluey.  stop & feel the dough; it should adhere when squeezed, but shouldn’t feel sticky.  continue to knead the dough in the processor until satiny-smooth.  transfer the dough to a bowl, cover & let rest at room temperature for about an hour before rolling out.

cut the dough in four parts.  working with one part at a time, roll the dough out at successively narrower settings on a manual pasta machine, ending at the next to last setting.   using a knife (i used a pizza cutter), cut the rolled dough crosswise in 1 1/2-inch wide strips.  my strips were 38” long, & i cut them in half lengthwise, and then half again crosswise.  i prefer them that way, but whatever.  let them dry slightly where ever you’ve cut them, for about 30 minutes.

sauce instructions:

in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  add half the mushrooms & garlic, season with salt & pepper & cook over high heat, turning the porcini occasionally until lightly browned.  transfer them to a plate & repeat with the remaining oil, garlic & porcini.  [here she says to discard the garlic, & i think that’s just wrong.  use your own judgment.  i also prefer to caramelize the mushrooms for several minutes before moving them…this means placing them in the hot oil & not touching them for at least 4 minutes, otherwise they will steam, not brown.]  meanwhile, boil a large pot of water, toss in some salt & your pappardelle.  it shouldn’t take them more than 3 or 4 minutes to be al dente.

return the porcini to the pan & add the butter & parsley.  add the stock & simmer over moderate heat for one minute.  season with good kosher salt & freshly ground pepper.  add pasta to the sauce, along with the parmesan & toss gently.

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resurrection of meat-fridays

posted by:  audra

tonight was supposed to be anti-meat-friday night;  i was to roast a chicken instead of a bloody piece of cow.  after all the running about at various stores, i managed to forget to buy more kitchen twine.  string.  whatever.  something to truss my chicken with.   god, i was so pissed.  but, cleverly, i asked the butcher to cut me a filet mignon whilst at the store.  i’m brilliant!  actually, it was on the list from earlier…but anyway, i really wanted to do miss ina garten’s steakhouse steaks.  totally retarded name, but absolutely perfect meat.  i’ve done them a time or two; the first time i set off the smoke alarm thrice, but it was totally worth it.  really all you need is a screaming hot cast iron pan…it’s a complete no-brainer.

so, again, this is supposed to be called ‘steakhouse steaks’, but i think that’s terribly embarrassing.  we’ll just call it ‘seared filet mignon’ or something, yeah?   and one more thing, open a window & turn your fans on…it gets a bit smoky…


  • 2 (10-ounce) filet mignon
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil…don’t use olive oil; vegetable oil has a higher smoke point
  • 1 tablespoon fleur de sel
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns…for cooking extravaganzas on the weekends, i run a couple handfuls of peppercorns through the coffee grinder
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature


preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

heat a large, well-seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot, 5 to 7 minutes.

meanwhile, pat the steaks dry with a paper towel and brush them lightly with vegetable oil. combine the fleur de sel and cracked pepper on a plate and roll the steaks in the mixture, pressing lightly to evenly coat all sides.

when the skillet is ready, add the steaks and sear them evenly on all sides for about 2 minutes per side, for a total of 10 minutes.

top each steak with a tablespoon of butter, and place the skillet in the oven. cook the steaks until they reach 120 degrees f for rare or 125 degrees f for medium-rare on an instant-read thermometer.

remove to a serving platter, cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.  you’re done!

ina’s gorgonzola sauce goes lovely with this…you just rapidly boil 4 cups of heavy cream for about an hour, add 4oz gorgonzola, some parmesan, 3 or 4 tablespoons of flatleaf parsley, season with kosher salt & cracked pepper, whisk  & you’re set.  i would recommend keeping a close eye on the cream while  it boils though; i’ve let it boil over several times & it’s a fucking disaster…better yet, just do it in a larger saucepan than you think you’ll need.  no one wants you to smell like burnt cream.

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