Mar 1, 2011

Boscaiola recipe

One of my readers recently requested I illustrate this preparation, and share the recipe. Boscaiola (which rougly translates to, "in the woodsman's fashion") is a fall season condiment for fresh pasta, usually pappardelle––the broader fettuccine ribbons––made with porcini mushrooms and mild sausage.

But boscaiola is also a rich pizza topping, and a delectable one at that.
Image © hungryjenny

In the pasta sauce, sometimes bacon is used instead of the sausage. I've seen tomato puree, black olives and heavy cream added in some renditions too. Mine is simple, "leaner" (who am I kidding?) and quite easy to make. Porcini mushrooms are the key ingredient, so if you can't get fresh ones, in addition to whatever wild or cultivated kind available in your area, you can use dried porcini mushrooms, which when revived in lukewarm water lend a rich, heady flavor.

500 g (1.1 lb) pappardelle type pasta
400 g (2 cups) porcini, or any wild/cultivated mushrooms available in your area
50 g (1/4 cup) dried porcini mushrooms
100 g (1/2 cup) luganega-type Italian sausage, casing removed and flesh crumbled
200 g (1 cup) baby peas, thawed if frozen
1 clove of garlic, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
Dry white wine
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. Italian flat leaf parsley, minced
Freshly grated Parmigiano cheese (optional)

Clean the mushrooms, brushing the dirt away from the stems with a wet sponge. Separate the caps from the stems, and cube both.

Steep the dried mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes, then mince them, and add them to the rest of your cubed mushrooms. Strain the steeping liquid, because it most probably contains sand, and keep it aside for later.

Blanche a cup of baby peas and set aside.

In a casserole, sauté crumbled sausage and garlic in a tablespoon of butter and a splash of olive oil. When the sausage has rendered most of its fat, fold in all the chopped mushrooms and a glass of wine, and simmer over a gentle flame for about 30 minutes. Ten minutes into the cooking, add the strained peas. Depending on how much moisture the mushrooms release, you may need to add more wine. Some use 1/2 cup of heavy cream instead, at this point.

Whatever liquid you choose to moisturize the sauce with, this is the time to bring 3 gallons of salted water to a boil. When the sauce is close to being ready, boil the pappardelle. Drain the pasta al dente, season with the sauce, and garnish with very little parsley. For those who like it, a dash of grated parmigiano is always a good thing.
Image ©

Buon appetito.


  1. I like mine with cream! And plenty of parmigiano too.
    So good!
    Your step-by-step instructions are most useful.
    Grazie Tanto.

  2. Perfection - whether on pappardelle or pizza

  3. Wow does that look delicious! Beautiful photos too - thanks for sharing:)

  4. do you think it would still be good without the sausage? i am vegetarian and miss out on a lot of great italian recipes!

  5. che bei piatti! amo i funghi porcini,la salsiccia.... uhmmm grazie per le ricette sei molto gentile! un bacio!

  6. One of my favourites and I also make the pizza version. You are making me hungry!

  7. Hi Eleonora, this looks delicious! And simple - those are my favorite kind of recipes. Hope all is well - I finally got your new button up on my blog! Ciao, bella!

  8. And very delicious it is, too. Fattening? ummm...

  9. Patricia~
    ...and tastes even better! Grazie!

    Prego Maestra. I'm not a huge fan of cream, but on this it's really good...

    Thank you, I'm happy you like this. Smiles.

    Glamorous Gourmet~
    Thank *you* for stopping by!

    Anna Savino~
    Sure! In that case, I suggest you compensate with the heavy cream–unless you don't do dairy.

    Grazie a te! Sono contenta che ti piace.

    I had the absolute best custom-made pizza boscaiola at Taverna del Leone, but that was very long ago.

    Aw, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed this.

    I like to think of the exclusion of heavy cream as the excuse for calling this a non-fat dish. he he he...

  10. yum yum yum...... i haven't had lunch yet and will have to merely dream about pappardelle boscaiola.


  11. Amanda~
    I have to catch up on your blog and Deborah's, it's been ages! Scusa!!! Thank you so much for swinging by for a pre-lunch stomach tickle.

  12. Very nice... I have some grass-fed sausage, but it may be too salty for this recipe. On the other hand, there's only one way to find out! Nice photos, by the way.

  13. I love the photo of that Roman-style pizza bassa. After so many years in Rome, I actually grew to like it better than the classic Neapolitan version. But now that I'm back Stateside, I can't find it for love or money...

  14. Eleonora, Grazie! Grazie! Grazie!
    It looks fantastic. It will be on pizza tonight and pappardelle tomorrow. Thanks again, Bob

  15. My mouth is watering!I am going to make this for dinner this week. Thank you so much.

  16. Beautiful pizza. The sauce sounds terrific. I've never heard of it before, but I love everything involved, both on the ingredient list and in the preparation steps. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to making this very soon! - Gary

  17. See the photo of this pizza reminds me how much I came to like the Roman-style pizza bassa, even better in the end than Neapolitan pizza, believe it or not.

    Speaking of which, there is actually a place here in DC that makes real pizza. Not the Roman kind but a great pizza alta. And they have some great little noshes to start of the kind you might find in a Roman pizzeria, including crochette, filetti di baccalà, supplì and—to my astonishment—they even had puntarelle on the menu! Had that last night for the first time since we left Rome...

  18. Ne mangerei volentieri un pezzo!
    Ciao Tilli

  19. This is so cool! I want to try this one. Thanks a lot for the idea.

  20. Frank-
    Oh my, this DC place rocks!If the search rears no tanglible results, the only solution to eating pizza romana (bassa) is finding a good wood-fired, dome-shaped brick oven and... making it yourself!!

    Ha I'm happy you like it. Thanks again for the great prompt.

    Thank you! Tell me how it turns out, OK?

    Thank you for your visit and kind comment. Please get back to me with results, moans of pleasure, details etc. ;)


    Perfect winter dish... and OK for your restrictions, vero?

    A chi lo dici!

    Dining Table-
    Thanks a million for your enthusiastic response. Please let me know if you do make it.


  21. Ciao Lola,

    sono Man of Roma, grazie di avermi visitato di nuovo. Ti scrivo una mail subito. Da qualche parte avevo letto che avevi un nuovo numero di cell. Un abbraccio G

    Mi sembra una ricetta fantastica. E vedo che hai un seguito enorme! Best congrats e a presto!

    Man of Roma
    (Manius Papirius Lentulus)

  22. It looks great both with pasta and as a pizza topping. Thanks for sharing.

  23. G (MoR) now Manius–
    you have too many nicknames!
    A martedì!

    I'm happy you enjoyed this preparation. It's great both ways, does this count as two recipes?

  24. Lori~
    So happy you stopped by for a nibble!
    ♥ you 2

  25. Eleonora, I was wondering if you have the recipe and technique for making your pizza dough and baking the pies. I've been looking for a crisp cracker pizza dough recipe for a long time.

    Thanks so much,

  26. Auggie~
    thank you for your comment. Did you scope my recipes page? In the "Complete Meal Dishes" section you will find three Pizza chapters, with recipes, toppings and loads of useful information. Ciao!

  27. Me too - Yum, Yum, Yum!

    Only one day left before Lent starts in earnest and fasting foods only. Must have!

  28. This I would enjoy! Thank you for sharing...

  29. Eleonora, I saw this basic dough recipe in Pizza PartI but it does not look like it would be for the Roman style cracker crust that you have above? 1/4 cup of yeast seems like a lot for a cracker crust...and no slow fermentation method ??

    Ingredients for basic pizza dough

    * 50 gr (1/4 cup) brewer’s yeast
    * 2 cups warm water, plus more if necessary
    * 1 kg (2.2 lbs) all-purpose flour
    * 6 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the bowl during leavening
    * 30 gr (1 oz) salt
    * 2 teaspoons sugar, leveled

    Thanks you!

  30. Serene~

    Splurge while you still can!

    Thank you for tasting!

    As I mentioned in the Pizza post's premise, pizzeria pizza (especially the crisp Roman crusty one) is almost imposible to replicate. Unless of course you can make your own organic Lievito Madre or Biga (natural leaven) and let it rise for 72 hrs, fire a dome-shaped brick oven with wood kindling and flip your dough gossamer thin. My basic dough is exactly that: basic!
    Thank you and buon appetito ;)

  31. This looks amazing! If only my screen were of the 'scratch and sniff' variety!

    I found your lovely blog via Expat Blogs. Perhaps you would like to join my Expat Linky Party on March 19th? Hope to see you then, if not sooner.

  32. Happy Homemaker UK~
    thank you for stopping by and for your kind comment! I will definitely join the party, thanks for the invite!!

  33. ottima vicino ad un caminetto acceso e un bel bicchierone di vino rosso. Io non metto i piselli nella mia, ma aggiungo delle carote.

  34. Amelia~
    Magari avessi il il buon rosso strutturato si!! Anche io a volte ometto i piselli, le carote non lo sapevo. Interessante!

  35. Shawnna & Davide~
    You really painted an olfactory portrait of the joys of mushroom-foraging. Thank you! A presto :)

  36. My favorite pizza topping! Now I'll have to try it (come autumn) with pasta.

  37. Diane~
    Mine too! Try the pasta sauce recipe, I'm sure you'll like that too. Ciao!

  38. A Sicilian place nearby makes an amazing Boscaiola, that I would like to try and emulate. Whilst Googling your recipe came up and seemed the most similar. The fact that none of the other recipes even have sausage meat listed as an ingredient, cream/no cream etc.. makes Boscaiola a rather ambiguous recipe!

    So I'd like to get some advice if this thread is ever seen again that is ....;)

    The one I'd like to emulate had cream and fresh Sage in it (possibly a little Rosemary unless this was in the sausage itself?), what stage is best to add the Sage? The sauce also appeared to have an orange (mascarpone sauce) colour, could this be the addition of a couple of spoons of Passata?

    Great authentic AFAIK recipe though, thank you.

    1. Ciao!
      I have never heard of cream, mascarpone nor passata in Boscaiola!

      Sage, fennel seeds or other herbs may come form the type of sausage used, but the characteristic of boscaiola is the sole use of mushrooms and sausage.

      If you want to add the sage, I'd brown it in some butter separately, and then sprinkle it on top of the cooked pizza, as a last minute garnish :)