Fusilli Rustici with Tomatoes & Mushrooms

I’d wanted to try this second pomodorini recipe from Beatrice, but had to wait until I could get my hands on some locally grown mushrooms. I found some Blue Oyster mushrooms on offer at the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market, and Peter of Pawtuckaway Fungi took great care in packaging up two densely layered clusters for me. These fragile beauties suffered a little from being stored in our ill-tempered fridge, but were still glorious to use.

In her recipe for Fusilli Rustici Pomodorini del Piennolo e Funghi, or Fusilli with Tomatoes and Mushrooms, Beatrice recommends two Italian varieties of mushrooms, the Pioppini or the Chiodini. Depending on where you live, these mushrooms might also be found under other names — the Pioppini are sometimes called Black Poplar, Beech, or Chestnut Mushroom; and the Chiodini (“little nail”) are also known as Honey, or Brown Shimeji Mushroom. The most important characteristic of these two mushrooms is the way they hold their texture after cooking, something the oyster mushroom shares in common with them.

As for the pomodorini, only a handful of the ones hanging in storage were ripe enough to eat. In order to fill in the rest, I raided my stash of roasted tomatoes hidden away in the freezer. They worked well in this recipe, and I imagine would be fine in any other one calling for pomodorini. If you don’t have access to pomodorini del piennolo, fresh cherry tomatoes would also work.

Fusilli Rustici Pomodorini del Piennolo e Funghi
Fusilli with Hanging Tomatoes and Mushrooms

In Napoli they use a kind of mushroom called Pioppini or Chiodini. I always get them in NYC but you can use a meaty mushroom that can withstand cooking without losing bite. Enjoy! — Beatrice

1 pound (abundant) of mushrooms
1 pound pomodorini del Piennolo, whole and rinsed
4 garlic cloves
1 spicy chili pepper
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of freshly chopped Italian parsley
Freshly grated parmigiano
Fine and coarse sea salt
1 pound fusilli

– Place pasta pot over high heat. Add coarse sea salt when it comes to a roaring boil.

– In a large saute pan bring the garlic cloves to a lovely golden color in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat with a pinch of salt and the chili pepper. Add mushrooms and pomodorini, cook for about 20 minutes stirring every once in a while. Cook pasta very al dente and add to your sauce. Cook for 4 minutes, taste for seasoning. Add chopped parsely and parmigiano.

– Another must while cooking pasta is to make sure you cover the pot after you add the pasta to salted boiling water. You want the water to get back to boiling as fast as possible. Also never ever ever add oil to your pasta water. You just need to stir the pasta frequently while it cooks.

Recipe courtesy of Beatrice Tosti di Valminuta, Il Bagatto and Il Posto Accanto. More recipes and cooking advice available from Beatrice through her Allora videos.

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