Tagliatelle Ai Funghi
The first time I had tagliatelle ai funghi done right, it was at Trattoria Stella in Serramazzoni, in the foothills of Modena, Italy. When a gastronomical memory persists for over 15 years, you know you had a true culinary pleasure. The beauty of tagliatelle ai funghi is the simplicity, and how the quality of each ingredient can be perceived in each and every bite. When prepared with fresh handmade egg pasta, the dish is divine. In the absence of freshly homemade egg pasta, substitute the best quality egg pasta (pasta al uovo) you can find. DeCecco makes one that is decent. So often similar versions of this pasta are made with a "cream sauce" which somehow becomes this thick and heavy white gravy like sauce. This dish is rich and flavorful, but the cream is actually quite light, and just adds to the richness of the flavor of the dish without weighing it down. Ideally, I would love to make this dish with fresh porcini mushrooms, but season and budget do not always allow. The following recipe is quite versatile, you can substitute mushrooms for whatever is fresh and seasonal in your area. Even when I use fresh mushrooms, I always used the dried porcini additionally, because they contribute a beautiful strong earthy flavor, and the water used to reconstitute them great to use at the end of cooking to toss with the final product.