La Tavola della mia Famiglia: Fettuccine al Sugo di Pollo e Funghi

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Every family has its own unique set of traditions.  These traditions are the glue that binds one generation to another.  Those revolving around food are often the ones that seem to stand out the most.  It’s no wonder. Food nourishes not only our bodies but our souls as well.  The family table is where relationships are forged, bonds are strengthened and memories are made.   One of the goals I had when I started this blog was to celebrate my Italian heritage by featuring the marvelously homey and delicious dishes I grew up eating and the loving hands that prepared them.  I wanted to show how the relationship between food and family plays an integral part in shaping who we are by sharing some of my own memories, musings and experiences.  As I said then, “I have many interests in my life, but I’ve realized that food is the fabric that holds families together. The memories of preparing a meal together and then sitting down to enjoy it with my own family are my most treasured.  Although I am merely a humble home cook, I hope that, through this blog, I can inspire some of you, as I have been inspired, to make some memories of your own.”

I strayed.

The very first of my own recipes that I posted on SGCC was based on my grandmother’s Sunday meat sauce.  That was almost three years ago. Back then, I knew nothing about how to write a proper recipe, and even less about how to take a decent photograph.  But I did know how to tell a story, and I often peppered my posts with them.  As time passed, I was seduced by simplicity and beaten down by time.  In my zeal to crank out frequent posts while keeping up with my other writing gigs, the stories and my cherished family recipes became fewer and far between. I’ve also become so inspired by the plethora of excellent food blogs on the web and and the talented and creative bloggers behind them. Every day I find so many new recipes from all different cultures, and I want to try them all!  There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve loved stretching my culinary wings and trying new things.  That’s how we grow, enriching ourselves and hopefully, others.  It just wasn’t what my original vision for SGCC was.


So, I’ve reached a compromise with myself. While still carrying on with SGCC the way I have been, I am also going to try to set aside one day each week to get back to my culinary roots.  Sunday is going to be La Tavola della Famiglia or The Family Table day.  Why Sunday?  Because in my family,  Sunday was always the day when we all gathered together at my grandparents’ house for a long, leisurely food fest – no matter how busy anyone was.  And, since no Sunday was ever really Sunday without a huge pot of ragu simmering on my grandmother’s stove, brimming with various kinds of meat, I’ve decided to kick off my La Tavola della Famiglia series with this Fettuccine al Sugo di Pollo e Funghi – Fettuccine with Chicken and Mushroom Sauce.  


Fettuccine al Sugo di Pollo e Funghi is a riff on my family’s traditional Sunday meat sauce.  Instead of being filled with meatballs and various cuts of beef and pork, chicken and earthy, meaty mushrooms are the stars of the show.  Chicken was a big favorite of my dad’s, so both my nonna and my mother used to make this dish often.  The sugo only needs to be simmered for an hour or so, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Because of the shorter cooking time, it tends to be a lighter and brighter sauce, with an almost sweeter quality to it.  And, since you don’t have to slave over a hot stove all day to prepare it, you’ll have lots more time for other fun, family activities on a Sunday afternoon.

Here’s how you make it:

chicken ragu collage-web

Mmmm!  Can you smell that onion and garlic sizzling?  I could just dab some of that stuff behind my ears instead of perfume!

chicken ragu collage-2-web

One thing that I do differently from the original recipe is to remove the cooked chicken from the bones and add it back to the sauce.  It’s a lot easier to eat that way, plus, you get a bite of chicken in every forkful.  Another thing I like to do is use a blend of different kinds of mushrooms. I think it gives a nice variety of textures to the dish.  Here, I added a mixture of portobello, porcini and shiitake mushrooms, but any combination works.  When it comes to mushrooms, the more the merrier!  Back in the day, regular old button mushrooms were the only ones readily available, so that is what my mom and grandma used.  I don’t think my nonna ever even heard of shiitakes, much less cooked with them.

So, here you have it. Fettuccine al Sugo di Pollo e Funghi, dalla tavola della mia famiglia alla vostra – from my family’s table to yours.

Buon Appetito!



82 responses to La Tavola della mia Famiglia: Fettuccine al Sugo di Pollo e Funghi

  1. On August 15, 2010 at 2:37pm, diane & Todd said...

    what a wonderful post looking back at why we are all so connected. I look forward to reading this series!
    and this dish? oh wow, looks so wonderful and can we be a part of your family too? 😀

  2. On August 15, 2010 at 2:51pm, bellini valli said...

    Getting back to your roots seems to me to be an excelelnt way to start the week Susan. I look forward to more posts.

  3. On August 15, 2010 at 5:29pm, Rosa said...

    A delicious pasta dish! A lovely family recipe.



  4. On August 15, 2010 at 7:02pm, Mia said...

    This is a wonderful post and a great recipe. Looking forward to enjoying “La Tavola della Famiglia series”.

  5. On August 15, 2010 at 7:24pm, Liz said...

    I am super excited about this new series. I love cooking my Nonnie’s recipes. I look forward to cooking yours too!

  6. On August 15, 2010 at 8:21pm, Joanne said...

    I love this new feature! Although I’m slightly biased since my heritage is Italian 😛

    I have to say I know how you feel. When I started my blog it was mostly Italian food. All the time. But now I want to cook the world! So much to eat and so little time.

    This pasta sauce sounds fantastic. Stick-to-your-ribs good.

  7. On August 15, 2010 at 9:15pm, Patsy said...

    I would love to be at your table for Sunday dinner! I am looking forward to reading about your other family recipes, too!

  8. On August 15, 2010 at 11:17pm, Betty @ scrambled hen fruit said...

    Sundays always found our family at my grandma’s table as well. My grandpa was a waterman, so instead of Italian fare we had fish, oysters or crab. This pasta dish is beautiful and I love your story of family and tradition. Thanks!

  9. On August 16, 2010 at 5:06pm, Amy (Sing For Your Supper) said...

    This looks simply gorgeous!! Great post!!

  10. On August 16, 2010 at 7:29pm, Joan Nova said...

    It’s amazing how we grow as bloggers and photographers. While the aesthetic may different from your beginnings, the heart is still there and the photography has just gotten fabulous. I look forward to the new series.

  11. On August 16, 2010 at 7:37pm, UrMomCooks said...

    This dish looks absolutely marvelous! We are big mushroom fanatics at our house, plus we have a lot of mouths to feed! Looking forward to ur Italian favorites – this one could become one of my favs too!

  12. On August 16, 2010 at 10:48pm, Marie said...

    Susan I look forward to all your cherished family recipes with excitement!

  13. On August 17, 2010 at 11:33am, Michele said...

    Wow! This looks so delicious! Wish it was going to be my lunch!

  14. On August 17, 2010 at 11:36am, Eliana said...

    This looks absolutely delicious Susan. Thanks so much for sharing this beauty with us.

  15. On August 17, 2010 at 6:01pm, Memoria said...

    This pasta looks dish. I love the addition of sautéed veggies. I wish I had family recipes up my sleeve.

  16. On August 18, 2010 at 5:05am, nina said...

    It is necessary that we sometimes review our own work and see if we are still on track with our original vision. Well doen, I think this is a great idea!! Looking forward to share your La Tavola della Famiglia.

  17. On August 19, 2010 at 4:35am, bergamot said...

    Nice post the pasta looks delicious…

  18. On August 19, 2010 at 10:05pm, megan said...

    Great post and a great dish! I look forward to your family dinners and the recipes!
    It’s amazing the different kinds of mushrooms either fresh or driedd, that are available these days!

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Hello and welcome to SGCC! I’m Susan, a professional writer, food columnist, recipe developer, wife, mother, daughter and sister, who used to be a lawyer in a previous life. My love of food comes from a long line of wonderful and creative Italian home cooks who didn’t always have a lot, but knew how to make a lot out of what they had. I hope that you enjoy yourself while you’re here, and visit often! read more >>

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