This article was originally featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor's FoodLetter on Thursday, April 6, 2006.

Fettuccine Verdi ai Fegatini

INGREDIENTS: (Serves two)

1 ounce (30g) dried porcini
1 cup (240ml) hot water
1 ounce pancetta
1/2 medium onion
1 carrot
1 clove garlic
8 ounces chicken livers
1 tablespoon (15ml) olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 or 3 whole cloves
1 fresh scallion
2 ounces prosciutto
Black pepper
4 ounces green (spinach) fettuccine or linguine
2 ounces grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese


1. Soak the porcini in the hot water for 10 or 15 minutes, then drain, reserving the strained soaking liquid, and chop the reconstituted mushrooms.

2. While the mushrooms are soaking, mince the pancetta, chop the onions coarsely and peel the carrot and chop it fine. Peel and smash the garlic clove, and cut the chicken livers into small dice.

3. Heat the pancetta in the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat until it has rendered its fat. Increase heat to medium high and saute the chopped onions and carrots and the garlic for three or four minutes, until they soften and start to brown. Add the chopped chicken livers and cook just until they lose their raw red color. Put in the wine, tomato paste, bay leaf and cloves and about one-third of the reserved mushroom water; bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and cook gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. (Mario calls for 30 minutes, but that seemed unnecessarily long to me.)

4. While the sauce is simmering, chop the scallion fine and cut the prosciutto into 1/4-inch dice. Start a pot of salted water boiling for the pasta. When the 15 minutes are up, add the chopped mushrooms and scallions and the diced prosciutto to the simmering sauce, along with a little more of the mushroom liquid. You want enough liquid to keep the sauce from sticking, but only just; this should be a thick, not soupy, sauce. Check seasoning and add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste; it probably won't need much salt beyond that contributed by the pancetta and prosciutto.

5. Cook the pasta while the sauce simmers for another 10 minutes or so. Drain when ready and put the cooked pasta in the sauce, stirring quickly over high heat to bring it all together. Serve in warm bowls, topped with a ration of grated cheese. (Mario calls for the more robust Pecorino Romano, which should be fine with this dish; I used the always-on-hand Parmigiano because it was handy, and it worked well, too.)

WINE MATCH: The earthy, meaty flavors in this dish and the wild-mushroom accent suggested a Pinot Noir, but it just didn't seem right to serve anything but an Italian red, so I pulled the cork from a Rocca di Fabbri 2000 Rosso di Montefalco, a blend of Sangiovese and the local Sagrantino from Umbria. It should have been great, but unfortunately the wine showed signs of having been "cooked," a good thing for food but not for wine. More about this in a coming 30 Second Wine Advisor.

Mario Batali's "Molto Italiano" is available from in hardcover for $22.02, a 37 percent discount. Purchases made using this exact link,
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