Directions

  1. Place dried morels in a bowl; add just enough boiling water to cover. Push mushrooms under the liquid and let soak until plumped, about 10 minutes. Remove morels and rinse to clean them well. Squeeze them lightly to remove excess liquid and, if large, cut them in half. Strain mushroom liquid through cheesecloth into a bowl.

  2. Heat olive oil in a heavy saucepan over low flame. Add onion and garlic; cook slowly for a few moments. Stir in the minced chipotle. Raise heat to medium-high, add mushrooms and cook a few moments, stirring often. Add 2/3 cup of the mushroom liquid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is reduced.

  3. Coarsely chop the tomatoes; add them plus the puree from the can to the mushrooms. Bring to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. At this point you can turn off the sauce and let it cool down (or chill it) until about 30 minutes before serving.

  4. To finish: Bring a pot of salted water to boil; add penne and cook until barely tender. Meanwhile, return sauce to a simmer. Stir in mascarpone and sage. Taste and add additional salt and pepper, if necessary. When pasta is done, drain it and place it in a large serving bowl. Add sauce and about half the Parmesan; toss well. Sprinkle each serving with additional Parmesan.

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A pile of penne pasta studded with dried morels and curls of fresh sage for garnish.