What distinguishes the cooking of Acqui from the rest of Savoy-influenced Piedmont is its proximity to the sea along the Ligurian coast, as demonstrated through this recipe, which combines woodsy morel mushrooms with salty anchovies and fresh herbs.




Roll out the pasta dough to the thinnest setting on a pasta machine. Cut the dough, crosswise into ¼ inch wide strips. Place the tagliatelle on a sheet tray that has been dusted with semolina flour, cover with a clean dish towel and set aside.


Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt


Under running water, rinse the anchovies well, remove the heads, tails and spines, and finely chop them. In a 12 to 14 inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the garlic briefly, just until begins to soften, about 20 seconds. Add the anchovies and cook for a few seconds more, then add the sliced morels. Sauté the ingredients together until the mushrooms just begin to release their juices and brown around the edges.


Add tomato sauce to the pan, along with the basil and marjoram and bring the mixture to a boil; cook for a minute, then add the stock. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes or so, until the sauce is reduced by one-third.


Cook the tagliatelle in the boiling water until tender yet al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking water, and add the pasta to the pan with the fennel seeds and basil. Toss over high heat to coat the pasta, adding pasta cooking-water if necessary to keep the sauce from getting too tight.


Divide equally among four heated pasta plates and grate the Groviera or Toma cheese over each plate, and serve immediately.