Food Fun ... :-)

HOME PAGE >> Articles >>

Italian Recipes zzx012
Italian recipes cv01
anna maria volpi italian chef x01
our Italian Cooking
Publication or use of pictures, recipes, articles, or any other material form my Web site, on or off-line without written permission from the author is prohibited. If you would like to use my articles on your Web site or in your publication, contact me for details. Avoid infringing copyright law and its consequences: read the article 7 Online Copyright Myths by Judith Kallos
Read our
before using
our site
Linking Policy
Advertise with us
Copyright © 2003 - 2011 Anna Maria Volpi - All Rights reserved.
Anna Maria's Open Kitchen Site Map

site map



about us

Some More Hot Topics You'd Like to See adv.
Anna Maria Suggests

Extra-Virgin Italian Olive Oil

The Best Selection of Italian Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Choose among the finest. FREE SAMPLE !!

Balsamic Vinegar from Modena

Buy from the source Authentic Aged Traditional  Balsamic Vinegar from Italy

Imported Italian Olives

Sicily, Apulia, Lazio, Liguria, and More...The Best Selection of Succulent Italian Olives Oil

Infused Extra-Virgin Olive Oils

Spice up your dishes with Infused Flavored Italian Extra-Virgin Olive Oils. ALL NATURAL!

If you go out for a drive after a fall thunderstorm in Italy, you will find long lines of cars parked along the sides of the roads. Mushrooms have sprouted, and pickers are searching the woods.

Although authorities require a licence and regulate the number of bags and places where picking is permitted, mushroom picking continues to be a wonderful way to spend a day in the woods. It's easy—all you need are good shoes, a basket, and a knife. The reward can be porcini, a mushroom that is very versatile, delicate enough to give grace to an elegant dish, yet has an extremely strong flavor.

But never eat wild mushrooms unless an expert has identified them. Toxic mushrooms may look a lot like other desirable species, and some of them, such as Amanita muscaria, contain a deadly neurotoxin.

Porcini are very prized and appreciated mushrooms. They have a smooth, meaty texture and a strong woodsy flavor.

They can weigh anywhere from an ounce to more than a pound, and their caps can range from one to twelve inches in diameter. You will seldom find them fresh in the United States, but you might try looking for them in specialty produce markets in late spring or in the fall.  Some grocery stores eventually carry frozen imported Porcini. The dried form of this mushroom is readily available. Porcini mushrooms also come preserved in oil.
a great gift of nature
by Anna Maria Volpi
Drying is an age-old method of preserving wild mushrooms to enjoy them year round. Dried mushrooms will keep for months without refrigeration.

Choose mushrooms that are a tan to pale brown in color. Avoid those that are crumbly. Dried porcini must be softened in hot water for at least 20 minutes before using.
As a rule of thumb, one ounce of dried mushrooms will reconstitute to six to eight ounces. Once softened, the mushrooms may be sliced, chopped, or left whole, according to the recipe.

Add reconstituted mushrooms at the beginning of cooking. This allows their highly concentrated flavors to permeate the entire dish. Also, cooks usually add the soaking water to the preparation for more flavor.

A combination of dry porcini and more fresh mushrooms, like chanterelle, are usually substituted for fresh porcini because fresh porcini are rarely found in the United States.

Anna Maria Volpi - ©

Porcini (Boletus edulis), one of greatest gifts of nature, is a rich, meaty mushroom. "Every year when September comes, the price of mushrooms goes down, and I buy plenty of Porcini," wrote the famous cook Pellegrino Artusi  a century ago. He was referring to the custom of buying lots of mushrooms when they are in season in order to dry them and use them in the winter.