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    Cart-Drivers' Spaghetti

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    Cart-Drivers' Spaghetti

    "Years ago I had an Antonio Carluccio recipe for cart-drivers' spaghetti," writes Ann James from Walsham le Willows, Suffolk. "It became a favourite when I had really hungry people to feed, but now I have mislaid it. Please help!" The recipe is from Antonio's Complete Mushroom Book (Quadrille; £25) and he was happy to pass it on to us. This is said to have been devised by Italian cart drivers transporting goods from the provinces to Rome. They wanted to cook something simple and delicious using only dried or preserved ingredients that were easy for them to carry on their long journey. This version of the recipe includes fresh tomatoes but most of the other ingredients are store-cupboard or fridge staples.

    • Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus soaking
    • Cooking time: 25 minutes
    • Total time: 45 minutes, plus soaking 45 minutes

    Serves: 4


    • 25g dried porchini mushrooms
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 70g pack pancetta, finely chopped
    • 200g can tuna in oil, drained and flaked
    • 600g cherry tomatoes, quartered
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 400g spaghetti
    • Shaved Pecorino cheese, to serve


    1. Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes, then drain and chop, reserving the soaking liquid. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic and fry gently until soft. Add the pancetta and allow to brown a little. Stir in the ceps and tuna and fry for a few minutes, then add the tomatoes and season. Cook for 20 minutes, then stir in about 3 tbsp of the cep soaking liquid to flavour the sauce, and cook for about 5 minutes longer.
    2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water until it is al dente. Drain and mix the spaghetti with the sauce. Season with black pepper, sprinkle with Pecorino and serve.

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