Dried porcini are a good stand-by ingredient to have in your store-cupboard. They can seem expensive but a little goes a long way. Their earthy, woody sensous aroma and flavour can stand on its own in a dish or they can complement meat and make it taste more of itself.
5-6 large dried porcini 500 g lamb mince 1 clove garlic, minced Leaves of 1 sprig fresh thyme Salt and black pepper 1 tablespoon olive oil 300 mls chicken stock 400 g tagliatelle
1. Soak the dried porcini in hot water for about ten minutes to soften them. Strain to remove any grit and reserve the soaking water.
2. Mix the lamb mince with the garlic and thyme leaves and season with salt and black pepper. Roll into little meatballs and fry in a hot pan in the olive oil until golden all over. Chop the porcini finely and add to the pan with the porcini soaking juice. Turn the heat to medium, add the chicken stock and cook until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened (about 10 minutes).
3. While the meatballs are cooking, boil 3 litres of water in a large saucepan. When the water is bubbling, add the tagliatelle and two teaspoons of salt. Stir, then cook for 9-12 minutes until cooked through but still al dente. Drain and toss with the lamb meatballs and the porcini. Serve immediately.
Recipe Variations and Tips
Use pork or beef mince instead of lamb.
There is no need to offer grated Parmesan with this dish - the texture of the grated cheese just doesn't work with the texture of this dish, it makes it too grainy.