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Mushrooms & Truffles

Italians are moderately crazy for funghi or mushrooms, above all in pasta sauces. Many dishes with wild mushrooms will be called alla boscaiola (forester style). Usually, these will be porcini mushrooms (ceps) a national icon, and a good restaurant will tell you whether they are freschi or secchi (dried). Funghi trifolati in the antipasto are mushrooms marinated in oil, garlic and parsley. Al funghetto 'cut like a mushroom', means thinly sliced.

The cultivated mushroom is nearly always agaricus bisporus. Picked young, it's a champignon, the common, white 'button' mushroom sold in every supermarket. Italians call it by a French name because the French first learned how to cultivate them properly, over 300 years ago.

Now a great mushroom secret will be revealed. In certain varieties of the same species, the cap turns brown and you have cremini. And if you leave them until they get really dark and the caps open, they're portobelli (an Italian-American term only now becoming common in Italy). These are great for stuffing. But it's all the same mushroom.

cardoncelli

king oyster mushrooms

chiodini

honey fungus

colombine

dove shaped Easter pastries or mushrooms

cremini

mushrooms, chocolates or cubes of cream

finferli

chanterelles

Fungo di Borgotaro

Very special porcini

gelone

oyster mushrooms

marzuoli

March mushroom

mazze di tamburo

parasol mushrooms

morchelle

morel mushrooms

ovuli

amanita ceasarea

piedi di capra

goat feet (no, not really)

pioppini

poplar (or chestnut) mushrooms

porcini

boletus mushrooms

prataioli

horse mushrooms

prugnoli

St George's mushrooms

sottobosco

undergrowth

tartufo

truffle

trifolato

with garlic and parsley

tuvara

desert or 'sand' truffles

Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls