If you’re craving a mouthwatering dish of sautéed and juicy mushrooms, you have to book a table at your favorite Italian restaurant. In Italian cuisine, in fact, mushrooms are widely involved in the preparation of appetizers, and first and second courses.
Moreover, in recent years in Italy, the consumption of mushrooms has grown a lot. In the supermarkets it is common to find trays of different mushrooms, already cleaned and cut, ready to be used in tons of recipes.
Do you want to know more about Italian mushrooms-based dishes that you can’t absolutely miss? Keep on reading!
Are mushrooms common in Italy?
Although you probably don’t associate mushrooms with Italy (or at least, not as much as you do with mozzarella, pasta, or pizza), they are a pretty common food and they are a fundamental ingredient for different traditional dishes. Italians love eating mushrooms, especially during the harvest period, in autumn.
Mushrooms are very popular in Italy also because the peninsula is one of the main producers in Europe, particularly in the regions of Veneto and Lombardy.
What are mushrooms called in Italy?
Mushrooms in Italian are called “funghi” (pronounced f-oo-n-g-ee) in the plural and “fungo” (pronounced f-oo-n-go) in the singular. This is a very general term, which includes all the varieties. In cooking, you tend to be more specific and when you prepare a particular recipe, you usually have to buy a specific type of mushrooms.
Here are the most popular varieties of mushrooms in Italy:
Do you want to try your hand at preparing an Italian recipe with mushrooms but you don’t know which variety you have to buy? Don’t worry, you will for sure find a recipe which requires the type of mushrooms you managed to find at the supermarket.
Do Italians eat mushrooms as a side, as a starter, or first plate?
Sautéed mushrooms are the perfect topper for a steak or potatoes and Italians love them, but they do not consider mushrooms only as a side. In fact, this food is the main ingredient of many appetizers, first and second courses.
Here are some examples of Italian mushroom recipes.
- Bruschetta with porcini mushroom;
- Carpaccio mushrooms, that is raw Champignon mushrooms with shaved Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and rocket salad
- Pies with cheese and mushrooms;
- Deep-fried Porcini.
- Risotto with porcini mushrooms;
- Ravioli with mushrooms;
- Tagliatelle with mushrooms and sausages;
- Polenta with mushrooms.
- Scaloppina ai funghi;
- Stuffed mushrooms;
- Mushroom stuffed chicken breast;
- Omelette with mushrooms;
- Monkfish with potatoes and mushrooms;
- Salmon with mushrooms.
Even with mushrooms, Italians are masters in the kitchen and they don’t put a brake on imagination! They don’t just use them as a side dish or as an ingredient for sauces but combine them with pasta, rice, meat, and fish.
Do Italians eat raw mushrooms? Yes, we absolutely do. The “carpaccio di funghi” is a dish based on raw Champignon or Porcini mushrooms, served with rocket, oil, salt, and flakes of Parmesan cheese.
Which mushroom is best for pasta?
Porcini mushrooms are the most common when it comes to pasta recipes because they have a unique sweet flavor and an intense aroma. Champignons are another good choice and they are usually cheaper than other varieties.
Italians love putting mushrooms in pasta or risotto but not every pasta shape is going to do justice to this wonderful condiment. According to Italian cooking, tagliatelle is the best choice for a mushroom-based “primo piatto” or you can try ravioli if you like stuffed fresh pasta.
Spaghetti with mushrooms is not really a thing in Italy, so if you are a long pasta lover, I suggest you try tagliatelle instead.
Should I cook mushrooms before adding them to pasta?
Yes, you should cook your mushrooms before adding them to pasta. You can consume them raw as a side or starter, but they need to be cooked in a pan for 10-15 minutes with a good amount of oil or butter and garlic to create a wonderful topping for your pasta.
Before serving your “tagliatelle ai funghi” to your guests, don’t forget to sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley on top and some grated Parmesan cheese.