academia barilla  August 2008

Recipes from the Chicago Botanic Garden: Sautéed Wild Mushroom Bruschetta

As you know from our previous posts, Academia Barilla and Barilla USA [...]


As you know from our previous posts, Academia Barilla and Barilla USA brought the Italian cooking style to the Chicago Botanic Garden last week, participating to (and sponsoring) the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Garden Chef Series with a full Barilla Italian Cooking Weekend.

As promised, we have plenty of recipes for you, shared with us by the Barilla Chefs and other Top Chefs participating to the Italian Cooking Weekend. Our first recipe from the event is from Barilla USA Executive Chef Lorenzo Boni, a quick and easy to prepare Sautéed Wild Mushroom Bruschetta.


For those who don’t know what a bruschetta is, here is a link to the Wikipedia, where you can discover more on this century-old dish. Bruschetta is a food whose origin dates to at least the 15th century from central Italy.

It consists of grilled or toasted bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cured meat, and/or cheese; the most popular American recipe involves basil, fresh mozzarella, and tomato. Bruschetta is usually served as a snack or appetizer.

As reported by the Wikipedia, the noun “bruschetta” is from the verb in the Roman dialect “bruscare,” meaning “to roast over coals”, and it is referred to the whole dish, not just to the topping as in the American current meaning.

In the Italian tradition, when olives are taken to the local mill for pressing in November or December, the olive producers typically take some country bread with them and, when the first oil emerges from the press, they toasts a bit of the bread on a grill to sample the oil with. The next step is rubbing the toasted bread with garlic and adding a pinch of salt.

Barilla USA Executive Chef Lorenzo Boni has some interesting suggestions for a gourmet twist in the traditional bruschetta, a version that has been deeply appreciated by the participants to the Barilla Italian Cooking weekend at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Ready? Let’s go to the kitchen!

A recipe by Chef Lorenzo Boni
(serves 4)


- 8 oz Wild Mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed of any fibrous ends
- 1/2 ea Medium sized sweet onion, julienne
- 3 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- 2 fl oz Academia Barilla Riviera Ligure Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 fl oz Sweet Marsala
- 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 ea Good quality Baguette
- Academia Barilla Pecorino Sardo, shaved
- 1 tub Truffle Spread
- Fresh thyme leaves for garnish
- Sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste


Pre-heat a 12” sauté pan over med high heat till hot. Add the cleaned mushrooms and tablespoon of the butter and cook till the mushrooms are soft and are starting to release their water. Cook for 3 minutes longer and then add the sliced onions.

Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, season with a little salt and pepper and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes over the med high heat and cook till the onions start to caramelize. Do not burn.

You want to cook the mushrooms and onions till the liquid is all most evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and add the Marsala carefully as the alcohol will catch on fire when you return it to the stove.

Reduce the Marsala by 2/3 and then add the cream. Bring to a boil and reduce to a sauce consistency, about 2 to 3 minutes. Check the seasoning and remove from the heat keeping the sauce warm till ready to use.

Cut 8 pieces of bread from the baguette about 1/2 inch thick on a 45 degree bias.

Toss the bread with a little splash of olive oil, salt and pepper. You can toast the bread in a hot oven or grill for a couple of minutes to warm the bread.

Next smear some of the Pecorino Sardo cheese on each piece of bread and sprinkle a few fresh thyme leaves on top.

Arrange 2 pieces of bread per plate and divide the mushroom sauce over the four plates. Drizzle a small amount of the olive oil over each plate and few thyme leaves and serve immediately.

Thank you Lorenzo for this easy-to-prepare gourmet recipe. We will publish more of your recipes from the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Garden Chef Series soon!

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