How to porcini like a pro.

The title of this post may be misleading, in that it implies that I already know how to porcini like a pro… Which is not, in fact, the case. It is the quest!

Before moving to Italy, I would not have described myself as a fungi lover. (Narrowly sidestepping a pun there that would solidify the progression of my sense of humor toward that of an old man).

However, ever sense the first butter-soaked, plump, little morsel of porcini high jacked its way into my mouth via a tagliatelle highway, I have been in love.

On multiple occasions I have attempted to recreate the heavenly taste that seems only achievable by seasoned rezdora Italian mammas (whole post required for that fun little word… stay tuned). Yet I have failed. I have tried olive oil, white wine, butter; both separately and all together in various combinations… Clearly just not the right combinations. My porcini end up ok… But just ok. Whereas when you get tagliatelle ai porcini in any decent osteria or trattoria here in Reggio Emilia, the flavor just bursts out of them.

And so this year I initiate my quest: How to Porcini Like a Pro.

Starting with dried porcini that I picked up in the mountains on my anniversary trip, I will be exploring and documenting different hydration and preparation methods sourced exclusively from local Italian mammas. No cookbooks or online recipes. I’m going straight to the source.

The hope is that by the time the season rolls around (fall), I’ll be so prepared that I may even be able to justify waking up at 3am to go mushroom hunting for my own fresh porcini…

I may delete that last line. (I am SO not a morning person). At the very least I’ll be prepared enough to justify the purchase of some big juicy ones!

So, please join me. Anyone have any tips to start us off? My first interview with a mamma will be next week, so stay tuned!

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