Inspired by Italian legend Guliano Bugialli, Italian mushroom soup or zuppa di funghi is one of the best mushrooms soup recipes I've had, and probably the best dried mushroom soup.
It's an easy soup made with onions, leek, garlic and stock, and can be served pureed or, brothy and rustic. Whichever way you choose, you won't believe how much flavor comes from a few ingredients.
Every version I've seen contains potatoes to thicken it. Some thicken the soup with riced potatoes at the end. I've used Yukon golds and russets so far.
Along with potatoes, nepitella (Calamintha nepeta) is traditional. This is a cousin of catmint from Tuscany used to season porcini. I recommend using fresh oregano, marjoram, or "wild oregano" (bee balm).
For the best texture, you'll want a food processor to finely chop the flavorful base of onion, shallot, garlic and leek. Chop dehydrated mushrooms by hand.
This is one of the best dried mushroom recipes I've made, and the perfect soup for foragers who can use a mushroom medley. You can make it with fresh mushrooms too. I list different proportions of fresh and dried you can use fungi in the recipe notes.
I love using different dried species I pick for this, and every version has been unique. If you're a mushroom hunter, even a few dried morels or black trumpet mushrooms will make a big difference.
This is a versatile soup. It can be pureed for a creamy mushroom soup, or served chunky and rustic with pasta or croutons added at the end. I like it both ways, but I recommend you try the soup by itself with pasta first before you puree it. The texture of the finely chopped mushrooms is fantastic.
More Mushroom Soups
If you like this, make a note to try:
Italian Mushroom Soup (Zuppa di Funghi)
- 3 quart soup pot
- 1 Food processor
- 1.5 oz mixed dried mushrooms See recipe notes for substitutions
- 5 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water
- 6 oz white onion *see note
- 3 oz leek
- 2 oz shallot
- ½ oz 1 tablespoon chopped garlic two medium cloves
- 4 oz 1 stalk celery
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 oz diced pancetta or bacon Omit if you will puree the soup
- 8 oz potatoes
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- ¼ cup dry sherry or marsala
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, marjoram or nepitella or a pinch of dried oregano or thyme
- 6 oz cooked small pasta like ditalini or croutons *see note
- Crème fraiche or a comparable substitute
- Grated Parmigiano Reggiano Grana Padano, or your favorite parmesan
- Soak the dried mushrooms in the stock for water for 30 minutes. Stir vigorously once or twice as they soak to remove any dirt. Drain the mushrooms, squeezing liquid back into the bowl. Finely chop the mushrooms and reserve.
- Meanwhile, Cut the onion, celery, leek and shallot into ½ inch pieces. Crush the garlic with the back of a knife, peel and roughly chop. Pulse the vegetables in a food processor until finely chopped.
- In a 3 quart soup pot, sweat the pancetta in two tablespoons of oil until the fat has released and the pancetta is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped vegetables, stir, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, tomato paste and potatoes, stir, and cook 5 minutes more.
- Add the sherry and reduce by half, then add the stock and herbs. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning for salt until it tastes good to you.
Serving with Pasta or Croutons
- Add cooked small pasta and garnish with parmesan, Italian parsley and extra virgin olive oil.
- Fry croutons in butter and spoon them on the soup and it becomes mushroom minestrone.
- Puree the soup until smooth in a blender. Garnish with a spoonful of crème fraiche, fried dried mushrooms and chives.
I have been waiting for you to post a great dried mushroom recipe! I dehydrated piles this past summer and just haven't found the right recipe to use them. I'm horribly excited to try this. Thank you.
Have fun. Let me know if you have any questions!
Hmm, sounds like a good use for the load of dried parasols I've been sitting on. Hopefully it'll taste good with those and trumpets and pastina
Loving the steady flow of Italian recipes to inspire in the cold winter. I don't know why we seem to get a good selection of fresh mushrooms all year long at our local supermarket, but I suspect that even the Italians have jumped onto the mushroom farming bandwagon. That said, the chanterelles and a few others seem to still follow the seasons.
Eben! You're lucky. I think we'll have a high of -10 come Monday over here in WI.
Ok, I can’t wait to make this soup. To be clear, I use the amount stated for each, onions, shallots, and leeks. Thanks
Correct. I'm here if you have any other questions. And you can feel free to use what you have: only onions and garlic, only leeks and garlic, etc.
Every week or so your posts are truly a timely inspiration in our organic kitchen where we forage or grow 80% of the food we consume. We enjoy your recipes because they allow us to tweak them to suit what we grow in our gardens. I will adapt this recipe today with much less liquid to make a wild mushroom gravy, minus the pasta, that will go great with a meatloaf made from bison, water buffalo and pork. Here on Vancouver Island we are having an early spring and many herbs, and mushrooms too for that matter, are already big enough to harvest from our food forest. In addition to your alliums listed we also include the 'weed' of the day, which just happens to be Bittercress and Blood Sorrel at this time. Keep the great ideas coming. We follow your blog with enthusiasm and make almost all of the recipes you post on a regular basis. Thanks a bunch...
Thanks Alan. Yes, everything is meant to be an idea, and I tweak things too. The original recipes mostly used only onion and garlic, but I love alliums so I couldn't resist. Not often I meet someone who spells that name correctly, either.
Can our local cat mint be used instead of the nepitella? Would that be closer than the other herbs mentioned or are the flavors pretty different?
I would use oregano or marjoram. I grew nepitella this year, partially just to make this soup, and found I like the taste of oregano or marjoram better.
I had a great year mushroom hunting last year and have a bunch in the freezer and dried. I made a double batch of this soup today. I used mainly pre-sautéed and frozen wild mushrooms with some rehydrated black trumpets. Frozen mushrooms included honeys, chicken of the woods, Aspen oysters, and lobsters. Since the frozen mushrooms were not diced I did a partial purée with the immersion blender to reduce the mushroom bite size. The pasta isn’t obvious in the picture, but was a very tasty addition. I was surprised how the potatoes really thickened it up over the 30 minute cook time. I subbed in the cream for some of the broth. I tasted it first and both ways were excellent. I really liked the parmesan sprinkled on top for serving!
Glad it worked for you Dave.
Hi and thank you for this inspiration and template for excellent zuppa. I only want to add that I liked the flavor even better when I added some sherry vinegar at the table and a few drops of truffle oil didn't hurt either.
Thanks Leslie. Glad it worked for you. I do like a little sherry vin at the end of some soups, that's a good idea!
I made this tonight with dried morels, lobsters, black trumpets, and porcini. It turned out great, was an easy to follow recipe, and I will definitely make it again.
I'm thinking about using all foraged ingredients to make it. What would be a good foraged substitute for the celery stalk?
Jay, nice to hear from you. Instead of celery you can use another Apiaceae, something like tender wild parsnip stalks, wild fennel stems, Honewort or lovage leaves (added at the end).