Marcella provides 5 pasta options for this recipe. I am familiar with penne, ziti and fusilli; have no idea where to get maccheroncini, or what it looks like for that matter. I was able to get the fifth pasta option AND it was new to me; so that's how I settled on conchiglie. I know, I know, I'm way out there.
Marcella provides helpful directions on how to purchase and prepare the dried porcini mushrooms (in the transparent bag in the photo below) required for this dish - most helpful, as this was my first experience with this ingredient.
Like the other recipes encountered so far, most of the other ingredients are quite familiar. In fact many are already in the fridge or pull-out pantry. However, one ingredient gave me pause - "boiled unsmoked ham" .....Hmm?? Never heard those 3 words in sequence before. Google isn't much help - a lot of links self-reference back to one of Marcella's recipes. Maybe this is Marcella's idea of a little joke on all of us? The deli guy at Nicastro's, an "Italian Food Emporium" in Ottawa, was stumped for a bit, but then came up with a suggestion - and that's how I came to include a few slices of French jambon de Paris in this recipe.
Ham strips, porcini mushrooms & filtered water, cooking at a "lively heat."
Fresh mushrooms, chopped parsley, salt, pepper, plum tomatoes cooking at a "steady pace."
And here's the result.
How was it?
I liked the mushroom base of this sauce a lot - a new taste experience, big change from the usual tomato-based sauces. Hey! - that's what this project is all about, right? It was very good. Try it.