Sunday Pasta™: Fusilli con Funghi, Pancetta e Pinoli (Mushrooms and Pine Nuts)

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Unlike Lincoln, I would never walk a mile to return a penny. And unlike Washington, I would never admit to cutting down a cherry tree. But there are some things about which I cannot tell a lie, and one of them is Sunday Pasta.

So here goes. I have no idea where this recipe comes from. I know that my mamma has been making it deliciously for decades, but from there its origins are obscure. Maybe it hails from a quaint village in northern Italy. Or just maybe it hails from a quaint village in northern New Jersey.  Hmm…

Either way, to me it is a quintessentially fall or winter dish. Pinoli (pine nuts), pancetta, and fresh mushrooms combine to serve up the colors, tastes, and smells of a cool crisp day.

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4-6

1 lb fusilli (or penne)
6 oz pancetta
2 tablespoons pinoli (pine nuts)
1/3 cup olive oil
8 oz mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 onion, chopped
Salt and pepper



Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the onion until golden. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium heat until the liquid cooks off and the mushrooms are browned.  (Your favorite or any fresh mushroom will do just fine, but  each will yield a slightly different taste.) Cover and set aside.

In another skillet, sauté the pancetta in a little olive oil until crisp. Remove with slotted spoon and add to mushrooms. In the skillet where the pancetta was cooked, add the pinoli and sauté until golden brown. When the pinoli are done, join them with the mushrooms and pancetta mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta. Cook it until just shy of al dente. Drain the pasta, but retain 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the skillet with the mushroom mixture and cook together for about a minute. Add a little of the retained cooking water if the mixture seems dry. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmigiano.


Buon Appetito!

Ed Garrubbo


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