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Playing Portabella Cacciatore


  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 ounce dried porcini or mixed wild mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 6 portabella mushroom caps, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cubanelle peppers, halved, seeded and thinly sliced widthwise
  • 2 small ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white or red wine
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram or oregano
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 pound rigatoni or whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese plus some to pass at table


Serves: 4-6


In a saucepan, heat stock along with the dried mushrooms and simmer to soften.

Heat a large heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat with EVOO, 4 turns of the pan. Add the mushroom caps, and cook until darkened and softened, 12-15 minutes. Add onions, peppers, celery, garlic, bay leaf, crushed red pepper flakes, marjoram or oregano, salt and pepper, and cook 8-10 minutes more to soften. Stir in tomato paste, cook 1 minute, add wine and reduce a minute or 2.

Remove dried mushrooms from stock with slotted spoon, chop and add them to the skillet with the cacciatore. Add all but the last 2 tablespoons of warm stock to the stew, leaving any grit that may have settled in the bottom of the pot behind. Stir tomatoes into the cacciatore and reduce heat to simmer.

Heat a large pot of water to a boil, salt water and cook pasta to al dente. Drain pasta and return it to the hot pot. Remove bay leaf from cacciatore. Toss pasta with butter and cheese, and 2 ladlefuls of cacciatore sauce.

Serve pasta in shallow bowls topped with additional cacciatore, passing extra cheese at the table.