Capunti with cardoncelli mushrooms

Capunti with cardoncelli mushrooms

Capunti e cardoncelli

Sharing Puglia
Alicia Taylor

Cardoncelli mushrooms grow wild on the Murgia plain, which is the stony plateau in central Puglia. These highly prized mushrooms look somewhat like oyster mushrooms, but are darker, meatier and richer in flavour. I recall many trips to the Murgia in late autumn, with my brothers and friends all armed with wicker baskets and knives, in search of the treasured cardoncelli. After we harvested our stash, we used to light a fire and grill the mushrooms on the coals, just dressing them with a little olive oil and eating them with bread and a glass of wine.


Quantity Ingredient
100g rocket
2 garlic cloves, crushed
50g pine nuts
50g parmesan, grated
250ml olive oil
700g cardoncelli or oyster mushrooms, wiped with a cloth and thickly sliced
50ml dry white wine
handful flat-leaf parsley
3 thyme sprigs
500g * pugliese pasta [rid:27367], using capunti variation
50g pecorino, grated


  1. Pulse the rocket, half the garlic, the pine nuts and half the parmesan in a food processor for a minute, slowly adding 100 ml of the olive oil in a steady stream until the pesto is creamy and smooth. Set aside.
  2. Place the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and gently sauté the remaining garlic for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for 7 minutes. Pour in the wine, stir to combine well, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Tear half of the parsley and thyme leaves, and add them to the pan along with the pesto. Stir to combine everything well and cook for 5 more minutes.
  3. Cook the capunti in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the pasta water.
  4. Add the drained capunti to the sauce, along with the reserved pasta water and mix well. Transfer to a serving bowl and scatter over the remaining parsley and thyme leaves. Top with the grated pecorino and serve.
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