Orecchiette with Funghi
Orecchiette, Italian for 'ears', are one of the most famous pastas from southern Italy. It is a true regional dish and the symbol of Bari, the regional capital of Piero's native Apulia (Italian: Puglia). Every year they even celebrate La Sagra Delle Orecchiette here, the feast of the ears. Funghi Cardoncelli is also a Puglia delicacy and has been eaten since Roman times. Piero says that these are not just mushrooms, but that they are much more flavorful and can become as big as your hand. Unfortunately, these are not available in the Dutch supermarket, so you can use oyster mushrooms as an alternative. Despite the fact that few ingredients are used, we found this pasta surprisingly tasty!
Boil the water. By allowing the water to boil well, the pasta gets a kind of 'shock' in the water, which makes the pasta al dente. If you let the pasta heat up in water that is too cold, you have a chance that the pasta will become soft.
Halve the tomatoes, roughly chop the oyster mushrooms, finely chop the parsley and thinly slice the garlic.
Step 1: Cook the pasta
Throw a fist of (sea) salt into the boiling water. This seems like a lot, but this way the water is salty enough to give the pasta enough flavor. The pasta will not absorb all of the salt.
Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Piero tells us that the tip of many cooking programs to add olive oil to the pasta water is nonsense. According to him, plenty of water with enough salt and occasional stirring is sufficient.
Pay attention! Keep a cup of the pasta water aside. We still need this at the end.
Step 2: Prepare the oyster mushroom mixture
Pour a generous splash of olive oil (approx. 12 tablespoons / 120ml) into the frying pan and heat the oil over low heat.
When the olive oil is hot, add the garlic and let it simmer. Pay attention! Do not burn the garlic. From time to time, tilt the pan slightly to fry it.
Once the garlic is golden brown, turn up the heat slightly and add the oyster mushrooms. Add a little salt to draw the moisture out of the oyster mushrooms. Spoon well.
If you like it spicy, you can add ½ teaspoon of chili flakes.
When the oyster mushrooms are brown and cooked, turn the heat down a bit and add the halved tomatoes.
Add a large scoop of pasta water to the oyster mushrooms to make the sauce creamier and let it simmer for a while until the tomatoes are soft.
Step 3: Serve the pasta
Drain the pasta and mix it with the oyster mushroom mixture
Turn off the heat and add the parsley.
Stir everything together and serve.
Buon appetito! ('Enjoy your meal')
Piero and Romee have a mission to bring fresh ingredients from Italy to the Netherlands. They told us why the use of fresh ingredients is so important in Italian cuisine.
300 gr of cardoncelli or oyster mushrooms
300 gr of orecchiette
15 gr of flat parsley
400 gr of cherry tomatoes (good tomatoes make the recipe more tasty than cheap cherry tomatoes)
4 cloves of garlic
120 ml extra virgin olive oil (good olive oil is also important here)
Coarse sea salt
Optional: 0.5 tsp chili flakes
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