Pasta With Porcini Mushrooms
Pasta is a good thing to eat any time of year. It's easy to prepare and can accommodate nearly anything you want to put on it. One of my favorites is garlic and porcini mushrooms. For this dish you can use any kind of pasta you want. I like the bite-sized versions such as fusilli, rotini, or shells, because the mushrooms and garlic cling to all the twists and turns in this sort of pasta.
1 pound pasta
3 ounces dried (or 1 pound fresh) porcini mushrooms
10 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
If dried, the mushrooms need to soak in warm water for about 30 minutes. If you are using fresh mushrooms, wipe them clean. Chop the mushrooms, garlic, and parsley. In a large nonstick or cast iron pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of the oil on low. Stew the mushrooms and garlic in the oil. Be careful not to brown or burn the garlic. Add a dash of salt if you like. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the chopped parsley. If you want a little spice, sprinkle in the red pepper flakes. Mix everything together well.
While the mushrooms stew, boil the pasta. Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the mushroom mixture. Return the pan to a medium heat, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil while tossing to mix everything well. Serve warm and sprinkle each serving with grated Parmesan cheese.