1 hr 15 mins
Makes:4 to 6 servings
This dish uses ingredients that can be found year-round (if you use dried mushrooms), but we like it best in the fall, when fresh mushrooms are available and the cooler weather makes us crave a hearty sauce. You can serve it as a starter for 6 people or make a main course out of it for 4 people.
3/4 pound pancetta, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1/2 medium white onion, medium dice
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 pound fettuccine (can substitute linguine)
3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings, for garnish
4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
If using fresh mushrooms, clean the dirt off all surfaces; cut off and discard the base of the stems. Separate the stems from the caps and thinly slice everything. Combine sliced mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the vermouth; set aside to macerate for 30 minutes. If using dried mushrooms, combine them in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the vermouth. Cover mixture with warm water and set aside for 30 minutes to reconstitute mushrooms.
Cut pancetta slices into 1/4-inch squares. Heat remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When oil shimmers, add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes.
Add mushroom mixture (with liquid), onion, and garlic to pancetta. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until garlic and onions are soft and sauce is slightly reduced.
Once mixture has reduced, lower heat to medium low, add cream, and let simmer 5 minutes more. Set aside.
Cook pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, rewarm sauce over low heat. When pasta is cooked, drain it, return it to the stockpot, and add sauce. Mix well.
Garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano shavings and parsley and serve.
Beverage pairing: This full-flavored pasta deserves an elegant red with hints that complement the earthy richness of the porcini and bacon. A red from the cooler northern Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige is one great way to go. From the DOC of Teroldego Rotaliano try the 2003 Foradori Teroldego Rotaliano, with its nuances of pomegranate, hibiscus, and bright Bing cherry.