Porcini and Pancetta Pasta

with a Dry Vermouth Cream Sauce
This is an iteration on the carbonara dish I made for the wedding in Tuscany. If it's the fall, and you can get fresh porcini mushrooms, by all means, do so.

For 6


3 Fresh Porcini Mushrooms, or 2 oz. Dried Porcini Mushrooms
¾ # Pancetta (chopped into roughly ¼ inch cubes)
8 Cloves of Garlic (loosely diced)
½ Onion (loosely chopped)
1 T Dry Basil Flakes
1 t Ground Cumin
2 T Fresh Italian Parsley (plus some for garnish)
Red Pepper Flakes
Black Pepper
2 T Olive Oil
1/3 Cup + 1 T Dry Vermouth
½ - ¾ Cup Heavy Cream
½ Cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
¾ Box of Barilla Spaghetti


If you're fortunate enough to get your hands on fresh porcini mushrooms, prepare them by rubbing the dirt and pebbles from the cap (both top and bottom) and stem of the mushrooms. Cut off and discard the very bottom of the stem. Cut the caps from the stems, and somewhat thinly slice them. And take the stems and loosely dice them. Put the sliced caps and diced stems and put them in a bowl, and pour 1 T Olive Oil and 1 T Dry Vermouth over them and toss (to flavor them). Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

If you're using dried porcini mushrooms, put them in a bowl with 1 T Olive Oil and 1 T Dry Vermouth. Add enough water to cover the mushrooms, and mix with your fingers. You'll want to let this sit for at least an hour to reconstitute the mushrooms, occasionally mixing to insure that all the mushrooms are getting reconstituted.

Set a sauté pan over a medium-high flame, and pour in your olive oil. When the pan reaches temperature, add in your pancetta, and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently to insure the pancetta doesn't burn to the pan.

HOLDING PATTERN - This is a fine place to either drop the heat down to low, or to kill the heat entirely.

Next, add your porcini mushrooms (liquid and all) to the sauté pan with the pancetta. Add your basil, cumin, parsley flakes, and red and black pepper, and continue to stir, deglazing the pan. Then add in your garlic and onion.

After about 5 minutes, add in your 1/3 cup vermouth, and allow it to reduce.

HOLDING PATTERN - You're reducing the vermouth - if you turn the heat down to low, you can slow the cooking for an extra 5 minutes.

Once it has reduced, lower your flame to low, and add in your heavy cream and grated cheese.

HOLDING PATTERN - And you can kill the heat, and fire it back up again when you're ready with your pasta.

Bring a stock pot filled with water to a boil, and add in your spaghetti.

HOLDING PATTERN - By dropping the heat on your boiling water to low, the pasta will take a little longer to cook.

Drain your pasta, and return it to the stock pot. Pour your sauce over the top, and mix with tongs.

Plate it up, slice shards of parmesan cheese over the top, and some parsley.


Good Prepping & Dining Music

Louis Prima
Louis Prima Collector's Series

Pink Martini

Tom Jones

Various Artists
Irma on Canvas: Exhibition 1