If you are looking for a dinner that’s as easy as it is decadent then check out this porcini ragu from chef Ixta Belfrage.
“I’m not sure if you’re allowed to call a sauce that doesn’t contain meat, doesn’t start with a soffritto, and that only cooks for 10 minutes a ragu, and yet because of the concentrated flavour of the dried porcini, this has all the intensity of a meat ragu that has simmered for hours,” says Ixta.
She recommends having all your prep done before you start cooking, as “things happen rather quickly”.
Ixta Belfrage’s porcini ragu
(Serves 2 as a main with leftovers, or 4 as a starter)
- 40g dried porcini
- 4 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to serve
- 3 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped (not crushed!)
- ½ tsp chilli flakes (or less if you prefer)
- 10g fresh parsley (stalks and leaves), finely chopped, plus extra to serve
- Pinch of fine salt
- 1½ tbsp tomato puree/paste
- About 50 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- 250g dried tagliatelle nests
- 40g parmesan, very finely grated, plus extra to serve
- 3 tbsp double cream
- In a medium bowl, cover the porcini with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving 75g of the soaking liquid. Very finely chop the porcini to mince consistency, then set aside.
- Put the oil, garlic, chilli flakes, parsley and fine salt into a cold, large saute pan on a medium-low heat. Very gently fry for five minutes until soft and lightly golden, turning the heat down if the garlic starts to brown.
- Increase the heat to medium-high, then add the chopped porcini, tomato puree/paste and plenty of pepper.
- Stir-fry for three minutes, then set the pan aside while you boil the pasta.
- Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for about six minutes, until al dente. Drain, reserving 350g of the pasta water.
- Return the saute pan with the porcini to a medium-high heat, then add the 350g of pasta water and the reserved 75g of porcini soaking liquid. Stir, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, leave to bubble away for three minutes.
- Add half the parmesan to the pan, stirring until it has melted before adding the rest.
- Lower the heat to medium, then stir in the cream, followed by the drained tagliatelle.
- Toss over the heat until the pasta and sauce have emulsified – aboutone and a half minutes.
- Remove from the heat and serve at once, finished with as much extra oil and parmesan as your heart desires.
Mezcla: Recipes To Excite by Ixta Belfrage is published by Ebury Press, priced £26. Photography by Yuki Sugiura. Available now.