Dried mushrooms are comfort food’s best friend. Here, porcinis add a depth of flavor to a luscious cream sauce and work wonderfully with madeira wine. It’s an absolutely divine way to serve a comfort pasta sauce. I predict your guests will be thrilled.

Butter, cream, and intense flavors of porcini meld together in this recipe, that is making my mouth water writing this. As for buying the mushrooms, try to find a place that sells them in bulk. Some of the packaged varieties might turn out to be a little pricey. I got mine in Eataly, NYC, who has a whole section of different dried mushrooms on hand.

This recipe is one of three for sauces that have been included in my plan for hosting a pasta buffet.

Makes ABOUT 1 QUART

SOAK THE MUSHROOMS

2 1/2 OZ dried porcini mushrooms
2 1/2 CUPS boiling water

In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over the mushrooms. Let mushrooms soak, covered, about 15 min. Strain mushrooms through mesh sieve, reserving the liquid. Chop mushrooms.

MAKE THE SAUCE

3 TB butter
1 large onion, cut in half, then sliced thinly
6 cloves garlic, minced

soaked mushrooms
1 1/2 CUPS madeira wine

1 pint heavy cream
1/2 CUP half + half
1 TB thyme, chopped
1 TB oregano, chopped
2 TB rosemary, chopped

1/2 CUP soaking liquid from mushrooms

juice from 1/2 lemon
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh black pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt butter, add onions and garlic. Saute over medium heat 7 min. Add mushrooms and madeira, raise heat to high and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 min. Add cream and herbs, stir to combine. Carefully pour in mushroom soaking liquid, leaving behind the sediment. Boil 5 min, then lower heat to simmer. Simmer for another 5 min. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.

This recipe is part of our pasta buffet. See more recipes for throwing a laid-back affair in 11 Comfort Pasta