- A handful of dried porcini mushrooms or 1 small pouch dried mushroom mix
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 6 portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped, sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
- 1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced
- 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and very thinly sliced
- 2 cubanelle peppers, seeded and very thinly sliced
- 1 medium red or yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 can San Marzano tomatoes (28 ounces)
- A few leaves basil, torn
- 1 pound penne or rigatoni or whole wheat penne or rigatoni with lines
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Grated Pecorino Romano cheese, for topping and passing at table
Put the dried mushrooms in a pot and cover with a couple of cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the mushrooms soften.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat the EVOO, four turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark and tender, 12-15 minutes. Add the thyme, chili, garlic, peppers and onion and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 8-10 minutes, then add the wine and stir. Remove the reconstituted mushrooms from the liquid, chop and then add them to the saucepot. Pour in all but the last few spoonfuls of the mushroom stock into the saucepot; the grit will settle at the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, breaking them up with spoon, then add the basil leaves and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal; reheat over medium flame, stirring occasionally.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the hot pot. Add the butter and stir to melt. Pour in half of the sauce and toss. Serve in shallow bowls with more mushroom cacciatore on top. Garnish with lots of grated Pecorino Romano.