Italians love mushrooms (funghi), especially porcini, but if you can’t find porcini, this recipe will work with a mix of button and chestnut mushrooms. Recipe & image by Mario Matassa
• 1kg fresh porcini mushrooms
• 500ml white wine vinegar
• 1 litre water
• 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled
• 4 bay leaves
• a pinch of salt
• 500ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 Carefully clean the porcini mushrooms with a damp cloth – don’t wash. Leave the smaller ones whole and chop the larger ones into meaty chunks or slices.
2 Pour the vinegar into a heavy-based saucepan. Add a litre of water, the peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil. Once boiling, add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.
3 Drain the mushrooms, place on a clean tea towel, and dab gently with kitchen paper. You need to allow them to dry completely, at least overnight. This step is very important so do not be tempted to move on unless they are completely dry – otherwise you will just end up with mouldy, inedible mushrooms!
4 Once the mushrooms are dry, transfer them to sterilised jars, taking care not to break them (if preferred, you can add a bay leaf, an extra garlic clove and a few peppercorns at this stage). Once packed, fill the jars with extra-virgin olive oil. Gently tap the jars on the work surface to make sure there are no air bubbles and that the oil completely covers the mushrooms. Place the lids on the jars and close securely.
5 Wrap the jars in tea towels and arrange them in a large, deep pan. Fill the pan with water, making sure that the water level covers the jars by about 4-5cm. Place on the stove and boil for 20 minutes. Allow the jars to cool in the pan. Once cooled, store them in a cool dark place for at least one month before opening. These should store well for up to nine months.
Find more Italian preserve ideas here
You can find plenty more delicious Italian-inspired recipes here