Mushrooms are one of the stars of the Italian autumn, and they pop up all over the Italian woodlands during the cool autumn months.
In Italy, you’ll find wild ‘funghi’ of every shape and hue; Pratolio, Porcini, Finferlo, Russula, Chiodini, Pioppini… There are so many varieties for you to taste from place to place. You'll find market stalls in every town and city overflowing with the day's harvest.
It is a beloved Italian tradition to “andare a funghi” (go mushroom picking) obviously, always bringing an expert along who knows which ones are safe to eat. Once you've picked the finest mushrooms you can find, the fun can really begin!
Porcini mushrooms are a favourite and have a very distinctive look. They are characterized by a light colored flesh, a firm consistency and an inimitably earthy scent. They are one of the most versatile types of mushroom, often sold dried.
Pioppini have an unusual appearence : they are very thin and they're quite tough before cooking. For this reason, they are best for recipies with a longer cooking time (they are gorgeous with polenta and stew). You can use pioppini musroom in our Lasagnette Bianche recipe, a dreamy combination of tender pork cheek with creamy béchamel sauce and sweet shallots. You've got to try it.
3. Pleurotus (oyster mushroom)
Oyster mushrooms have a tender texture and a delicate flavour, and they cook very quickly. They're perfect for quick dishes. When it comes to variety, the lighter the color, the more subtle the flavour will be.
4. Prataioli (field mushrooms)
These mushrooms are easily identifiable thanks to their cap, which has a wide and flattened appearance. Their colour varies from white (when immature) to brown. They are excellent breaded and fried, to be enjoyed when they are still hot and crunchy. Delicious!
Sometimes known as "the asparagus of mushrooms", because you have to discard most of the stalk, a bit like asparagus. These are delicious alone as a side dish, but they should be par boiled before cooking, and never eaten raw, as they may contain some toxins. Don't worry, cooking them makes them safe to eat!
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