• Prep Time:
  • Cooking Time: 30 min
  • Serves: 4 servings

Penne with Chestnuts and Mushrooms

Category: Mashrooms, Pasta, Vegetarian, Shellfish, Pasta, Rice & Grains

 Ingredients List

  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms, preferably an assortment
  • 15 chestnuts
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 3 ounces pancetta (Italian unsmoked cured bacon), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup peeled and sliced shallots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil


For a vegetarian version of the recipe, exclude the pancetta and cook the shallots in 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, separate it into 3 parts.
2. Soak the mushrooms in about 1 1/2 cups of the hot water.
3. At the same time, using a paring knife, make a horizontal cut on the flat side of each chestnut. Place them in boiling water to cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Remove them from the water a few at a time and peel while still hot.
4. Salt the third part of the boiling water, and cook the pasta in it until tender but not mushy.
5. Heat up a heavy skillet over moderate heat, and cook the pancetta in olive oil, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside. Save some of the pancetta grease in the pan.
6. Add the shallots to the skillet with the pancetta grease. Sprinkle lightly with salt, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Chop the chestnuts into 1/2- to 1/4-inch chunks, then measure about a cup. Add them to the skillet, along with a little more salt.
7. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chestnuts deepen in color, about 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the water; strain and reserve the liquid. Chop the mushrooms, and add them to the skillet; cook, stirring, for a minute or two, then add the strained liquid. Turn the heat to low, and season to taste with salt and lots of black pepper.
8. Cook the pasta until tender but not mushy. If the chestnut sauce is too thick, add a little of the pasta water to it when the pasta is nearly done. Stir in the pancetta and the remaining butter. Drain the pasta, and dress with the sauce. Serve immediately.

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