I discovered this amazing mushroom ragu with torn pasta when traveling in Italy, in the lovely town of Macerata. After a morning of wandering I stumbled upon a small, unassuming restaurant with the word Funghi scribbled on a board outside. Even with my limited grasp of Italian I knew what was on special.
Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in 350ml hot water for 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and squeeze the excess liquid out then chop finely. Retain the soaking liquid by passing through a fine sieve to get rid of any grit.
Meanwhile, lightly fry the shallot, garlic, sage, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf over a moderate heat until the shallots are soft (about 5 minutes).
Add the chopped mushrooms and porcini and fry for a further 8 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the wine and chopped tomato and stir for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. Add the stock and porcini soaking liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium/low and let it gently simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid has halved.
Fish out the herbs and discard, then add the butter and cheese and stir quickly to emulsify the sauce.
I made some fresh pasta and then tore small pieces off a sheet, straight into the boiling water. If you're using store bought, but fresh or dried lasagne sheets and do the same. Or, use a thick ribboned pasta like pappardelle or fettuccini.
Toss the pasta with the sauce, adding a few spoonfuls of the pasta cooking liquid to loosen the sauce.
Sprinkle over more Parmigiano Reggiano just before eating.