PastaMania #07: "Farfalle Funghi Asparagi" (Farfalle with Mushrooms and Asparagus)

(June 19, 2014)
Who said Italian cuisine has no vegetarian options? You can find this all-vegetable dish just about anywhere in the boot. However, it originally comes from central Italy -- especially the valley of the Tiber river, between Umbria and Lazio -- where you have so many woods to search for mushrooms and asparagus. Italians make this dish with both rice and pasta. Here, of course, we're going with pasta.


Serves 4

·      First you'll need 24 oz De Cecco farfalle

·      24 oz asparagus

·      6 oz fresh mushrooms

·      4 tablespoons De Cecco extra virgin olive oil

·      1 onion

·      2 oz Parmigiano

·      A bunch of basil

·      Salt to taste


·      Clean thoroughly and slice the fresh porcini mushrooms.

·      Finely dice the onion.

·      Take the asparagus, remove stems and cut lengthwise into thin strips.

·      Remember to only use fresh vegetables and prepare them yourself. They're more flavourful than frozen, pre-cut vegetables.

·      Pour extra virgin olive oil into a large saucepan and add the onion first.

·      After a minute or so, add asparagus and stir until the onion is golden.

·      Once onion is ready, add porcini.

·      Cook for ten minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste and stirring thoroughly till well mixed.

·      When the water comes to a boil, add coarse salt and toss in the farfalle, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick.

·      Check to make sure the farfalle you are using is made in Italy with durum wheat semolina.

·      The best Italian pasta stays firm after cooking and has a rough texture that the sauce sticks to better.  

·      Cook farfalle for 12 minutes.

·      If you cook it longer, Italians won't like it! Pasta must be "al dente"—or firm to the bite. Don't strain the pasta—just remove it from the pot using a large slotted spoon and add it to the saucepan. The starch in the water will help the sauce stick to the pasta.

·      Cook over a high flame for a minute or so.

·      While stirring thoroughly, sprinkle with fresh basil and parmesan.

·      Farfalle con porcini e asparagi should be paired with a crisp, fresh Italian white such as Pinot Grigio from the northern region of Alto Adige. Or if you want to stay in the region of origin, try a Grechetto or Orvieto from Umbria.

... AND REMEMBER: To make an excellent pasta dish, use excellent pasta!