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