Wild mushroom soup

Wild mushroom soup

Zuppa di funghi

Emiko Davies; Lauren Bamford

The first time I had this classic Maremman soup was in a well-lit football field during a late-summer sagra, where we feasted on wild boar and other local specialities while mosquitoes feasted on us. Pasta dressed in wild mushrooms is often in bianco (which means ‘white’ or without tomato), in a simple preparation that showcases the flavour of the mushrooms. However, in this soup, meaty wild mushrooms are cooked in a rich tomato base that makes a sturdy partner and lends a pleasant acidity to nutty, creamy porcini. (See the beginning of this chapter for information on specific wild mushrooms foraged on Monte Argentario.) If you like a bit of heat, the chilli in this soup is an absolute must.


Quantity Ingredient
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus 1 extra for rubbing bread if desired
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
20g dried porcini, (if using)
450g mixed fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped, (including fresh porcini if possible)
125ml white wine
400g tomato passata
chilli flakes
or chopped fresh red chilli, (optional)
or freshly ground black pepper
1 handful calamint, (or marjoram or oregano and mint)
4 slices white crusty bread


  1. In a large pot, cook the onion and garlic over low heat in olive oil for approximately 10 minutes, or until the onion softens but doesn’t colour.
  2. If using dried porcini, put them in a small bowl and pour just-boiled water over the top to cover. Let the mushrooms soften in the water for about 15 minutes. Remove the mushrooms carefully (they will be hot!), straining the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve lined with a coffee filter or a couple of sheets of paper towel. Chop the reconstituted mushrooms roughly.
  3. Add the fresh and reconstituted mushrooms to the onion and garlic, season with a pinch of salt, and then pour over the white wine. Turn the heat up to medium–high and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tomato passata, along with 125 ml of water, season with another pinch of salt and add the chilli, if using (or freshly ground black pepper instead). Continue cooking for another 15–20 minutes until the mushrooms are tender and the soup reduces slightly and thickens. Remove from the heat and add the herbs.
  4. Grill or toast the bread slices. Rub the warm toast just once with a peeled, raw clove of garlic for extra flavour. Put the toast in the bottom of four bowls and pour the soup over the top.


  • If you don’t have access to fresh porcini or other wild mushrooms, you can make this soup with dried porcini and a mixture of available fresh mushrooms (such as Swiss brown, button, oyster and Japanese shimeji mushrooms). The important thing in any case is to use a variety for depth of flavour and texture.
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