- A handful dried porcinis or a small pouch dried mushroom mix
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 portobello mushroom caps, gills scraped, sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 red chile pepper, thinly sliced
- 4 large peeled and very thinly sliced garlic cloves
- 2 Cubanelle peppers, seeded and very thinly sliced
- 1 medium red or yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes
- A few leaves basil, torn
- 1 pound penne or rigatoni or whole-wheat penne or rigatoni with lines
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Grated Pecorino Romano, for topping and passing at table
Put the dried mushrooms in a pot and cover with a couple of cups of water, bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the mushrooms soften.
Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven heat the extra-virgin olive oil, 4 turns of the pan, over medium high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark and tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the thyme, chile, garlic, peppers and onions and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, then add the wine and stir. Remove the reconstituted mushrooms from the liquid, chop and then add them to the sauce pot. Pour in all but last few spoonfuls of the mushroom liquid stock into sauce pot, the grit will settle at the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomatoes, breaking them up with spoon then add the basil leaves and simmer the sauce 20 minutes. Cool and store for a make-ahead meal and reheat over medium flame, stirring occasionally.
Boil large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the hot pot. Add the bitter and stir to melt. Pour in half of the sauce and toss. Serve in shallow bowls with more mushroom cacciatore on top. Garnish with lots of grated Romano.