Porcini Mushroom Meatballs

From The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook (The Countryman Press, May 2013)

This recipe is one of Colin’s favorite ways of using the porcinis and boletus mushrooms that he harvests and dries all summer. The intense, earthy flavor of the dried porcini mushroom is a wonderful compliment to grass fed beef. Colin has made these meatballs with a brown gravy served on mashed potatoes as well as in a tomato sauce with pasta. Each approach brings out the different subtleties of spice and mushroom flavor.  



1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, not rehydrated
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
1 pound ground beef, preferably grass-fed
1/2 cup finely ground breadcrumbs or panko
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cups good-quality tomato-basil pasta sauce
12 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti

Method of Preparation

1. Pulse the mushrooms, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, nutmeg and curry powder in a food processor until well combined.

2. In a large bowl mix the mushroom-spice mixture, beef, breadcrumbs, cheese, egg, and garlic until just combined.  Using your hands, form into 16 meatballs.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon or the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add half of the meatballs and cook, turning until browned on all sides, about 7 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the meatballs to a plate.  Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the remaining meatballs.   Return all the meatballs to skillet.  Add the pasta sauce and simmer until meatballs have reached an internal temperature of 140 degrees, about 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente, approximately 6 to 7 minutes.  Drain in a colander.  Place the pasta in a large bowl and top with meatballs and sauce.  Serve with additional cheese, if desired.


Recipe from Hermit’s Gold Wild Edibles
Image by Tracey Medeiros