Secret Sauce

Farro Malfaldini with Wild Mushrooms by Fox & the Knife


From Fox & the Knife chef Karen Akunowicz:

This recipe is delicious and earthy, satisfying for any season and highlights the nuttiness of the farro pasta as well as the roasted mushrooms. This is a perfect dish for a Meatless Monday or a romantic date night. If you want to get wild, you can add shaved black truffles.


Mushroom Dashi

1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms

1 cup of kombu

6 cloves garlic

Truffle Butter

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 tablespoon black truffle paste or peelings

½ teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Wild Mushrooms

3 cups sliced mixed wild mushrooms (such as crimini, oyster, hen of the woods, and black trumpet)

Olive oil, as needed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed


Kosher salt, as needed

8 ounces farro malfaldini pasta (Akunowicz prefers Pappardelle’s brand)

1 garlic clove, sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves

2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Sardo, divided



For the mushroom dashi

Add the dried shiitake, kombu, garlic, and 1 quart water to a medium-sized pot. Bring to a happy simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from the heat and steep for 1 hour. Strain the dashi through a cheesecloth-lined chinois or fine-mesh strainer, and set aside.

For the truffle butter

In a bowl, whisk together the softened butter, truffle paste, lemon juice, and salt, until combined.

For the wild mushrooms

Preheat the oven to 400°F. 

Thoroughly rinse and dry all of the mushrooms. If using crimini and/or oyster mushrooms, remove the stems before slicing. If using hen of the woods mushrooms, remove their woody base, and then, using your hands, gently break apart into bite-sized pieces. If using black trumpet mushrooms, be sure to trim the ends, and make sure the inner funnels are free of debris.

For the crimini and/or oyster mushrooms: In a large bowl, toss the crimini mushrooms with a splash of olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Working in batches, sauté over high heat until golden-brown and soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Repeat the process with oyster mushrooms, if using. 

In a large bowl, toss all of the mushrooms with a splash of olive oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Roast on a sheet pan lined with a rack until the hen of the woods are crispy golden-brown and the black trumpets are soft, about 10 minutes. Allow all mushrooms to cool to room temperature.

For the pasta and to finish

In a large pot of generously salted boiling water (the water should taste like the ocean), cook the pasta until just al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the starchy cooking water. 

Meanwhile, slice the remaining garlic clove. In a heavy bottomed sauté pan, add the olive oil and 4 slices of garlic, and cook over medium-high heat until the garlic begins to toast. Add 4 ounces of the mushroom dashi and 2 ounces of the cooked mixed mushrooms to the pan. (Save any remaining dashi and mushrooms for another use.) 

Next, add the cooked pasta to the pan and toss. Add 1 ounce of the reserved pasta water and continue to toss or stir.  Add 1 tablespoon of the truffle butter (save any remaining butter for another use) to the pan and toss until emulsified. Add the chopped parsley and 1 tablespoon of the grated Pecorino; toss again. 

Divide the pasta between 2 bowls, and top with the remaining Pecorino.

Serves 2.


Pro Tip

Your pasta should cook ⅔ of the way in the water and ⅓ of the way in the sauce,