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Penne with Mushrooms and Turkey Sausage

Here, porcini mushrooms and sausage are combined to make a wonderful sauce for pasta. Begin the meal with a shaved fennel salad topped with extra-virgin olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3/4 lb. hot Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
  • 10 to 12 oz. button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 12 oz. penne pasta, preferably multigrain
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more
      for serving
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Directions:

Place the porcini mushrooms in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse well. Transfer to a small bowl. Pour the hot water over the porcini and let soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain the porcini, reserving the soaking liquid. Chop the porcini, discarding any hard stems.

In a heavy, very large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the sausages, increase the heat to high and cook, breaking up the meat with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add the button mushrooms and rosemary, and season with salt and pepper. Stir until the mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the porcini, wine and bay leaf and boil until almost all of the liquid evaporates, about 4 minutes. Add the 3/4 cup broth and the porcini soaking liquid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture becomes syrupy, about 10 minutes, adding more broth if needed.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir well and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes. Drain the pasta, add to the pan with the sauce and stir until the sauce coats the pasta. Remove from the heat and stir in the 1 cup cheese. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pasta to warmed individual bowls or a large warmed serving bowl. Garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately and pass more cheese at the table. Serves 4.

Quick tips: Use turkey sausage when you want to keep the dish light. But for a little extra indulgence, pork sausage can replace the turkey. The sauce can be made a day ahead and then reheated before adding the pasta and cheese.

Adapted from Weeknight Fresh & Fast, by Kristine Kidd (Weldon Owen, 2010).