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Double recipe!  The final resultThe final resultPappardelle con panna, pancetta, porcini and... salsiccia !  Or.... a sprinkle of zafferano !

This is one of my favourite "primi" (first course), especially in winter.  I will show you in this article the preparation of this recipe in two variations, that are similar but not identical and in the end quite different in taste.  Enjoy !

Why especially in winter ?   Because of more than one reason, but mainly because it's made with ingredients that tend to be more popular and enoyable in the cold season.   Also, the matching of this recipe with a robust red wine confirms this.

 

Very important note : pancetta does NOT mean bacon...  I'm sorry my dear overseas friends, but pancetta beats bacon 10-0 in any recipe, so... make sure you buy real pancetta if you want to try this dish.

OK!  With that said...

Preparation

what you need
IngredientQuantity
Pappardelle all'uovo 500g
Dry porcini mushrooms  
Piece of authentic Pancetta  
Olive oil (extra vergine)  
Garlic  
Fresh salsiccia (sausage)  
   

A little note about the quantity : you will have to check the photos in order to see the quantity of some of the ingredients, becasue I didn't weigh them in the process of preparing the dish.    Sorry about that.

Always about ingredients, I'd like to say something about the sausage : it must be a plain fresh sausage;  now, if using fennel seeds to make sausages is an option in Italy too, stuffing and seasoning the meat with industrial quantities of it and sesame, anice, and other spices of any sort is not good at all.   In the US I've run into what was called "Italian sausage", but it was something like this and it had nothing Italian other than the flag and some sort of funny italian name printed on the plastic envelope;  I used it to make a pasta topping and it ruined the whole recipe.   The sausage I use is PLAIN pork meat/fat with just a little bit of salt, pepper,  and sometimes a little bit of garlic.

As every recipe, there is a procedure to follow :

  • preparing the topping
  • preparing the pappardelle
  • mix them up

Simple, eh ?  Let's proceed.

1. Prepare the topping

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The porcini mushrooms need to be put in a glass of water and to be left there for at least half an hour, until they get soft and well soaked with water.   Use cold water, not warm.

When you will take the soaked porcini to cook them, don't throw the water in the sink : we will need it later in the cooking, it adds flavour

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In this variation the pancetta needs to be sliced in little cubes
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Put the oil and a clove of garlic in the pan and fry the garlic a bit, then take it out and put the pancetta cubes in the pan.

Fry the pancetta for a couple of minutes, until the fat starts to melt.

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Add the mushrooms to the frying pancetta... and then the salsiccia.   Let it fry but pay attention not to burn anything, especially the mushrooms!  If some get burnt, take them out of the pan, immediatly or they will spoil the taste of everything
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Cooking the pancetta and the other ingredients in this phase is very important : they get tasty but they can also burn, which would be a great problem if they do, so be very careful.   Now it's good to add some of the water where you soaked the dried mushrooms, and/or add a bit of red wine in the pan.

When the color is like the one you see in the last photo, which will be after about 10 minutes, it's cooked enough and ready.

 

2. Cook the Pappardelle

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There are several brands of pasta, at least in Italy, and the choice of a brand depends on personal preferences.

To me, the queen of pasta is always Barilla, although in this case we're talking about a particular type of pasta, made with eggs, a very typical pasta of Emilia.... and my mother was divine at making it.

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Fill a pot with water, a large pot, and make the water boil.   When it's almost boiling, add some salt; about a teaspoon per liter.  In the web I've found articles and recipes that recommend 1 teaspoon of salt per gallon : with such a quantity I'd say don't put any salt at all because it's wasted.

When the water boils, throw the pasta in it, and stirr it well for the first 2 minutes, otherwise it will stick together.
This quality of pasta should cook quite quickly, let it boil for 6 minutes and then you can start to try if suit your tastes.

Don't overcook the pasta.... really don't do it... taste it often to avoid that.
Consider that in the next step of the recipe the pasta will be fried in the topping, which means the cooking will proceed another little bit.

 

3. Get everything together

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Put the pasta in the pan with the mushrooms and the sausage.
Fry it at moderate heat, not to burn anything.  Stir it and roll it well for a few mins.
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When the pasta is well mixed with the topping, add the cream.
The cream doesn't have to be cooked, which means it will be cold when you add it to the pasta; therefore mix it well, stirring for a minute or so, to warm it up well.

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Enjoy the result !

I'll have a break from typing this article... I need a snack or something before I'll be drooling on the keyboard.    I'll be right back.

COMING SOON...

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How to serve them

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In a dish, with a fork at hand... and.... a good bottle of red wine!  From Toscana, like Chianti, or from Piemonte, like Nebbiolo.

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