It’s prugnolo season! Throughout Tuscany, Umbria, and other regions of Italy from the end of April through much of May (depending on the weather), this darling, dense mushroom sprouts all over fields and pastures, and reigns over the local culinary scene. Right now baskets of them are everywhere—local grocers, outdoor markets, roadside stands, and they’re currently the star of the recommencing sagra season.
Rinse about 80 grams of mushrooms per serving. Unless you have some very large prugnoli in your mix—they range in size from 3 to 10 centimeters—use the entire stem. For the large mushrooms, trim back some of the stem, which can be tough, and roughly chop the caps into a few smaller pieces. Leave the small mushrooms intact. Sauté them in olive oil, fresh chopped parsley, and a spash of white wine. Salt lightly.
Meanwhile, cook about 80 grams per person of tagliatelle or tagliolini in salted boiling water until al dente.
After about 10 minutes over low-medium heat, the prugnoli start to make a brown sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes from this point, maybe longer. These are tough-ish mushrooms and need to cook until softened. Test them.
Transfer the cooked pasta to the pan of prugnoli and toss thoroughly. Dust with the best quality Parmigiano you can find, and garnish with a pinch of parsley.
Prugnolo mushrooms are also known as Saint George’s mushrooms (il fungo di San Giorgio) given their arrival on or very close to Saint George’s feast day, April 23.