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During late summer when temperature, moisture and seasons align, magic happens in wooded forests and Porcinis begin to emerge. This universally beloved ingredient grows worldwide, but we get ours right from the woods of the Mendocino Coast. Favoring the floors of pine trees and near the edge of grassy clearings, foragers find Porcinis poking through fallen pine needles. Mushroom harvesters, like our friend Connie Green, have a precious five-week window to gather Porcinis, which can dramatically vary in size with button tops that can be as big as dinner plates. The complexion and flavor intensity can also vary regionally, though the best porcinis often sport a round golden-brown cap with white firm stalks.

The beauty of Porcinis is that they can add a delicate earthiness to a dish yet proudly stand alongside bold flavors, thus lending themselves to many dishes. For a September 2015 dish, their nutty, earthy flavor brilliantly weaved into the delicate pillows of Cow Girl Creamery ricotta gnocchi while enhancing the flavors of savory wine stewed onions, olive cured tomatoes and crispy garlic for a perfect celebration of Porcini season.