This is the recipe that introduced me to porcini mushrooms. They come dried and have to be reconstituted with hot water. They have a fairly strong earthy flavor. I use them in meaty pasta sauces and in mushroom and spinach risotto. If you really don’t care for the porcini, you can make this using only the button mushrooms, but the recipe has a far better flavor depth if they’re included. Since using Italian sausage in pasta sauces is so popular, you can usually find it without the casings at the store. If you do have to remove the casings, all you have to do is use a sharp knife to slit the casing open and turn out the interior.
Rotini with Sausage and Mushrooms
1 ounce dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 cup hot water
1 tbs butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 1/4 pounds Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
½ tsp dry rosemary, crumbled
½ cup dry, white wine
1 bay leaf
1cup beef stock, or canned broth
11/4 pounds rigatoni pasta
1 cup half and half
11/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Chopped fresh Italian parsley
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Additional Parmesan cheese
Rinse Porcini mushrooms. Place in small bowl. Pour 1 cup hot water over and let soak until softened, about 20 minuets. Drain porcini, reserving soaking liquid. Chop porcini, discarding hard stems. Set aside.
Melt butter over medium heat in a heavy skillet. Add onion and cook until beginning to soften. Add sausage, increase heat to high and cook until just no longer pink, breaking up with a fork, about 6 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms and dried rosemary and stir until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add porcini and wine and bay leaf and boil until all liquid almost evaporates, about 4 minutes. Add stock and porcini soaking liquid, discarding any sand at the bottom of liquid. Simmer until sauce is syrupy, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
Cook pasta and drain.
Add half and half to sauce and boil until thickened slightly about 2 minutes. Add sauce and 1 1/2 cups of cheese to pasta and stir over low heat until coated. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to platter and sprinkle with parsley.