Porcini, parsley and pine nut pasta

porcini, parsley and pine nut pasta

porcini, parsley and pine nut pasta

If you want a quick and easy pasta recipe which is totally delicious look no further than this sauce, called Tocco di funghi alla genovese, made with dry porcini mushrooms, parsley, garlic and pine nuts . It was shared on the picket line by a good colleague of mine (Annalisa), Italian like myself. Yes, I have been on strike for the past few weeks , together with thousands of other lecturers nationwide, to protest about the proposed massive cuts to our pensions. Let’s not go into details. However, I will say this: although it hasn’t been pleasant to stand outside in the cold and the rain these past few weeks, the upside has been the sense of camaraderie amongst the fellow strikers and the many interesting conversations struck (pardon the pun) with various people at different times. One of the many topics discussed was food. It is after all one of the pleasures of life. Annalisa kindly shared this amazing pasta sauce while on the “barricades”. As the name suggests it comes from the Liguria region, where Genova is situated. I guarantee that if you make it once you’ll want to make it again. Da leccarsi i baffi, per dirla in italiano!


  • 4 large-ish pieces of dry porcini (don’t go overboard with them or they will overpower the sauce. You aim for a subtle flavour)
  • a large handful of parsley
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • a handful of pine kernels
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato passata
  • seasoning
  • grated parmesan cheese, to sprinkle on the top


Put the dry porcini mushrooms in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for approx. an hour. The porcini will have to be nice and  soft. Squeeze them and put them in a food processor (but keep the water in which they have been soaking) together with the parsley, the pine kernels, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, the clove of garlic and salt. Whizz to a paste.

Heat some oil in a frying pan and add the porcini paste plus another couple of tablespoons of whole pine kernels. Shallow fry for a few minutes then add the passata. Again let it gently fry for a few more minutes before adding the water in which you had soaked the porcini. Make sure you sieve it as there is often a bit of debris at the bottom of the bowl. Gently simmer and reduce the sauce for approx. 8 minutes. Voilà!

Toss your pasta with the sauce, stir well and generously sprinkle it with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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