Creamy Prosciutto and Porcini Penne

An outstanding sauce of mushrooms, Marsala, cream and fresh herbs is especially luscious when tossed with pasta and topped with cheese.


  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound penne rigate, regular or whole wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1/4-1/2 pound Prosciutto di Parma (ask at the deli counter for prosciutto ends, which are sold at a discount), cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • About 1/2 cup Marsala or dry white wine
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, for tossing
  • Flat leaf parsley, finely chopped, for garnish


Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the starchy cooking water.

While the pasta is working, in a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock and porcinis to a boil. Simmer until softened, 8-10 minutes. Puree in a food processor.

Meanwhile,in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, three turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and stir until the fat renders, a couple of minutes. Add the criminis and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cream and Marsala. Stir in the mushroom puree and cook at a fairly rapid bubble, stirring, until reduced, 10 minutes.

Add the pasta and reserved cooking water to the sauce. Add the cheese as you toss. Serve in shallow bowls; top with parsley.

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