King Boletes a la Heart's Desire

by Charmoon Richardson



Peel and chop the onions. Heat about 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet or sauté, and add the onions when the oil reaches the 'sizzle' point. Stir well, lower heat, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally. When the natural moisture in the onions has mostly cooked away, and the onions are beginning to stick to the pan, start to add small splashes of various white wines, Marsala, Madeira, etc. Stir in enough liquid to lubricate the onions in the pan, but not so much as that there is standing liquid in the pan. Continue this procedure, varying the wines as available, until onions are getting mushy and sweet. My preferred wines for caramelizing are slightly sweet Johannisberg reislings or gewurztraminers, along with a drier chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. Don't use vinegary or 'cooking' wines—if you can't drink a wine (at least a taste), then don't cook with it. Continue to cook the onions as you prepare the main dish.

Break the boletes into small bite-size pieces. Rehydrate the boletes in a bowl by covering with the boiling water. Cover and let sit 10 minutes. Peel and chop the garlic, and clean and chop the other veggies while the boletes are soaking. Drain the boletes through a strainer, carefully saving the hot liquid, which is now a bolete stock.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan or wok. When hot, add the garlic, stir for a few moments, then add the drained bolete pieces. Stir and sauté for about 2 minutes, then add about 1/3 of the stock water (reheat the stock if it has cooled much). Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and a dash of tamari, and more stock if needed. After a few more minutes, add the pepper, pine nuts, and stock. There should be a good amount of simmering liquid in the pan at all times. Most of the stock should reduce away. When the pepper is almost tender, add the precooked tortellini, and the previously prepared caramelized onions. Bring back to a simmer, mix in the Parmesan, and serve over rice or light pasta.


Heart's Desire is the name of a beach at Tomalas Bay State Park, where this dish was created.

About the chef

Charmoon Richardson is a SOMA member and owner of Wild About Mushrooms. Charmoon has been collecting and studying wild mushrooms in Northern California for over 25 years. He teaches mushroom identification, is a past president of SOMA, wrote a column for SOMA News about mushroom foraging and cooking, and was the organizer of SOMA Camp for a number of years.