California Central Coast Recipes
Foresta Sauce with Strozzapreti
When you’re “cooked-out” and starting to feel bloated by all the rich meals that you’ve been enjoying, try one of my grandmother’s nice tomato sauces that she made with wild mushrooms. It always makes me feel "leaner" after eating. I call it one of my “purge meals” that are a godsend for waistlines.
It’s a simple tomato sauce that’s been enriched with sautéed wild mushrooms and rosemary. (A sauce like this is called a “Foresta sauce” because it’s primarily made with wild mushrooms –literally “from the forest). Please see my blog: Search for the forgotten Foresta Sauce
Preparation time: 30 minutesCooking time: 30 minutes
1/3 cup Extra-virgin olive oil , and a little extra if needed see below
2 large Shallots minced
3 medium cloves Garlic minced
3/4 ounce dried Porcini mushrooms hydrated in 1 cup warm water for 30 min. , drained in a sieve then sliced. *Reserve Porcini filtered water for later
5 ounce Shiitake mushrooms , sliced*
5 ounce Oyster mushrooms , sliced*
1 cup White wine
2 pounds Fresh Tomatoes , coarsely chopped or
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
3 to 4 sprigs fresh Rosemary depending on strength of rosemary aroma
1 pound Strozzapreti or other suitable pasta
Salt to taste
Freshly Cracked Pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan for table
2 to 3 Tablespoons Optional tomato paste if needed to thicken the sauce.
*NOTE If you’re on a strict budget or can’t find the fresh Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms (which can be pricey), you can substitute Italian brown mushrooms in place of the other two. But you do need to use the hydrated dried Porcini mushrooms and its Porcini water to make up for the flavor. Most grocery stores’ produce section nowadays carries dried Porcini mushrooms.
1 Pour the olive oil into a large non-reactive saucepan or stockpot. Heat the oil just a bit on medium-low. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
2 Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté letting the mushrooms give off their juices. If the mushroom mixture becomes too dry, add the reserved Porcini water rather than more oil. ( The Porcini water adds a lot of concentrated mushroom flavor to the pot with few calories!)
3 When the mushrooms are lightly browned, deglaze with the wine. Reduce the wine mixture by half, then add the chopped tomatoes as well as the rosemary sprigs. Season to taste with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and simmer over low heat.
4 If the sauce is too thin, add a tablespoon or two of tomato paste, or reduce the sauce down a bit more over medium heat.
5 In the meantime, put a large stockpot of hot water on the stove and bring to boiling. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water, stir and then add the pasta of your choosing. Stir the water again and bring to a boil and cook the pasta to al dente or as directed on the package.
6 When the pasta is done, drain it well and add it to the saucepan with the Foresta sauce. Mix gently to distribute the sauce and mushrooms evenly.
7 Portion out onto dinner plates and garnish each --if desired-- with a small sprig of rosemary. Be sure to have plenty of Parmesan cheese on the table for guests to top their pasta off.
Wine recommendation: A light red wine works well with this.