About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Amatriciana – Tomato Sauce with Pancetta and Chili Pepper | Main | Mushroom Sauce with Ham and Tomato »

Tomato Sauce with Porcini Mushrooms


By now, you’ve noticed that your Pomodori e Vino cooks don’t provide actual recipes in these blog entries. We have three good reasons.

First, we honor the fact that Marcella owns the copyright to Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking – we don’t. The decision to toss these recipes into the public domain should be hers alone.

Second, we all own and love our copies of this beautiful book, and we think everyone else should have that same pleasure. We don’t want someone to be discouraged from buying the cow because we gave away free milk.

But most importantly, this blog is really about our shared journey; our discovery of new discipline; and our delightful experiences with Marcella’s teaching style. Selfishly, we would rather tell you how we react to, and feel about each dish. It's infinitely more satisfying than just discussing cups, teaspoons, ounces, and minutes.

Although we don't include the recipes themselves, sometimes the evocative elegance of Marcella’s descriptions of ingredients just begs to be quoted. And so is the case with the star ingredient of my dish for today.

On page 27 in the Fundamentals section is this opening paragraph for Dried Porcini Mushrooms.

“Even when fresh porcini - wild boletus edulis mushrooms - are available, the dried version compels consideration on its own terms not as a substitute, but as a separate, valid ingredient. Dehydration concentrates the musky, earthy fragrance of porcini to a degree the fresh mushroom can never equal. In risotto, in lasagna, in sauces for pasta, in stuffings for some vegetables, for birds, or for squid, the intensity of the aroma of dried porcini can be thrilling.”


And so was the case as I prepared my Tomato Sauce with Porcini Mushrooms.

I'm admitting that I'm from the school of big and bold. Even when it makes total sense, and is for my own good, restraint is difficult for me.

Just a touch of shallot and no garlic? Only two tablespoons of pancetta? Not even fresh chopped parsley?

I wonder to myself, "How many weeks into this project will I be before I no longer have the urge to throw in a kitchen sink or two?"

But for now I again trust Marcella. I let the porcini take their rightful starring role. And I am rewarded with flavor that has been enhanced, not upstaged, by its carefully chosen supporting cast.


Comments (7)

This definitely looks like one I must make. Good job in controlling your "bigger is better urges". I am the same way, so I definitely understand.


Deborah, I love you. You crack me up. Your photos, tantalizing! Another great post and mouth watering recipe!!

Rah! Rah!

Marcella Hazan:

Deborah my dear, thank you for not giving away what we hope people will go out and buy. Royalties is what authors, octogenarians especially, live on.

Thank you as well for your restraint and for letting the porcini speak for themselves. Where did you get those magnificent porcini? I used to bring them back from Venice each time I went, but now that my exile to this little St.Helena on the Gulf has become permanent, I have to look for sources of meaty porcini like yours and true pignoli.

Don't worry about having had to pass up parsley and more garlic. There are opportunities coming up for you to indulge.

Deborah responds:
Dear Marcella, There is a brand called Melissa that is common in the grocery stores. But, I've found that the porcini in particular are small, dark and unappealing.
So, I buy large gallon sized canisters of dried mixed mushrooms at a local international food store here in St. Louis. Then I separate the different types into individual ziploc bags. I find the porcini to be much nicer. The morrels are beautiful as well.


Looks delicious! I can't wait to try this one.

Why oh why did I not bring my list of recipes to see if there is anything I need to buy while I am in Bologna? (Well, I guess it can wait until September. Maybe Jerry will pack it!

Deborah, it looks like another stellar dish!

We always load up on dried porcini, salted capers, candied citron and balsamico while in Italy. Bologna and Venice this winter!


really well said, Deborah!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 25, 2010 7:15 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Amatriciana – Tomato Sauce with Pancetta and Chili Pepper.

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