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Insalata di rucola con funghi e grana padano (Arugula Salad with Mushrooms and Grana Padano)

It’s been a massively busy few weeks with lots of food events taking place in New York plus a few other things going on.  I’ve been churning out articles for a couple of sites which means I’ve kind of been neglecting things here.  Not being around the apartment much, I’ve been turning to some simple but delicious recipes from my Italian days to keep myself fed between activities.  This Insalata di rucola con funghi e grana padano (Arugula Salad with Mushrooms and Grana Padano) has a bit of snap and bite to it and is the perfect kick-off to a great meal or can stand as a light lunch or dinner all by itself on a hot summer’s day.

Arugula from the Greenmarket

I first had this salad when I was a student in Bologna, Italy.  Scaccomatto, one of the restaurants that we would treat ourselves to sometimes, had many traditional dishes on the menu but, boldly for this town, often had more imaginative fare, all made with top-quality ingredients.  When I was last there, they had licorice pasta, probably made in-house as I have yet to locate it elsewhere, which enthralled my sister-in-law.  It was served with seafood and was delicious.

Cremini mushrooms from the same market

Scaccomatto has always had a special place in my heart and food memories because of that and is one of the places that I try to get to when I’ve been able to return to that town.  In this salad, which I copied from what I remember eating at the restaurant, the peppery arugula (the small-leafed Italian variety) is combined with very thinly sliced, meaty cremini mushrooms and delicate shavings of creamy, slightly sharp grana padano.  Rectangular, soft, barely crisp croutons drizzled with olive oil decorate the side of the plate.  Actually, come to think of it, the bread was probably fried in the olive oil.  Whatever the case, I think I managed to come up with a good approximation of it.

Insalata di rucola con funghi e grana padano (Arugula Salad with Mushrooms and Grana Padano)

Serving Size: 2 people (easily scaleable)

Prep Time: 15 minutes


2 slices hearty Country Bread

2 cups Arugula (Italian-style), approximately

1 cup Cremini mushrooms very thinly sliced

12-14 shavings Grana Padano cheese

1/2 tsp. Lemon juice, freshly-squeezed

1 tsp. top-quality Italian Olive Oil

2 grinds of Black Pepper (or 1/2 pinch)

2 pinches of Salt

1 clove Garlic

extra Olive Oil for drizzling

Grana Padano


Toast bread in toaster or in broiler.  While bread is cooking, toss together arugula and mushrooms with lemon juice and olive oil in a bowl.  Season with pepper and 1 pinch of the salt.  Divide salad between two plates making sure to have an even distribution of mushrooms and arugula on each.

Lay strips of the cheese on top of the salad, again dividing them equally.  When the bread is toasted, rub a garlic clove cut in half over one side of the bread.  Drizzle with a little bit more of the olive oil and sprinkle some of the remaining salt  on top of the toasted bread and place one slice on each plate.  Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!

Kitchen Witch Tip:

Many of the key ingredients for this dish came from the Union Square Greenmarket.  The arugula is from Mountain Sweet Berry Farm, the mushrooms are from Bulich Mushroom Farm, and the bread is from Hot Bread Kitchen.

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