Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tagliatelle with Truffled Mushrooms

I was shopping one day and came across a bag of Porcini Mushroom Tagliatelle (which is very, very similar to Fettuccine).  I immediately thought that it would go really well with a simple Truffle sauce with mushrooms.  I'd wanted to use baby portobello mushrooms (aka cremini mushrooms) but forgot to grab them at the grocery store so I ended up just using regular ole white, button mushrooms.

For the Truffle portion of the recipe, I used a truffle infused olive oil and a jar of chopped black truffles mixed with mushrooms.  I found both of these at a specialty food shop.  One thing to note is that the flavor of truffle is quite strong so don't think that you have to go hog wild and spend a paycheck to purchase an actual raw or 100% jarred truffle product.  A little goes a long way and a hint of truffle is very detectable in a dish.

If you're unfamiliar with truffles, they're very earthy tasting, similar to mushrooms which is why they're often paired with them.  If you like mushrooms, you'll probably also like truffles so give them a try.  I love mushrooms which is why I purchased the porcini mushroom pasta.  If you're unable to find mushroom infused pasta, any pasta will do.  Use your favorite or try something new.

OK, with all of the disclaimers settled, let's move on to the recipe.  I started by putting four medium sized garlic cloves into a pouch I made out of tin foil.  I drizzled in about a teaspoon of the truffled olive oil, a pinch of salt and a crank of pepper.  I put this into a preheated, 400 degree oven to roast.

Then I got started on the sauce, if you can call it that.  It was more of a coating than a sauce.  I finely grated about a cup of parmigiano reggiano cheese.  To that, I added about a tablespoon of the truffle infused olive oil, a pat of butter and a teaspoon of the truffle and mushroom mixture.  I added a few cranks of the pepper mill (refrain from adding salt at this point because the cheese is salty).  I mashed it all together to make a paste.  Once it was mixed, I realized that it probably wouldn't be enough for the amount of pasta I was cooking (the whole bag or enough for four).  So I repeated the process, doubling my amount of paste.

Pull out the garlic cloves and let them cool.  While they're cooling, get a pot of water on the stove with a hefty amount of salt in it and bring it to a boil.  While waiting on the water to boil, clean and dice the mushrooms.  I used about 10 which was almost the entire container.  I could've used them all so if you're a mushroom lover, feel free to add as many as you like.

Once the mushrooms are sliced, the water should be about ready.  Heat a skillet with a teaspoon of the truffle oil, salt and pepper.  When it's heated, add the mushrooms to the skillet and add the dry pasta to the boiling water.  Grab a pasta spoon or tongs and a ladle to have on hand.  The moisture will start to come out of the mushrooms so don't worry if they look soggy, just leave them and let them cook.  Once they're all heated through, give the pan a toss to flip them around or take your tongs and give them a toss.

When the pasta is almost done, take your pasta spoon or tongs and pull one bunch of the pasta from the pot to the skillet, add a third of the cheese paste to the pasta and put a dent in the top with the ladle.  Put a small bit (half a cup or so) of the pasta water in the dent.  Take the tongs and stir the paste and pasta water into the pasta to combine.  Pull the pasta up out of the pan.  This causes the starches to loosen and creates a velvety effect on the noodles.  Then repeat - another scoop of pasta, another third of the past and small scoop of the pasta water.  Stir and pull to combine.  Put the remaining pasta and paste into the skillet and stir and pull.  The sauce should be well incorporated, smooth and creamy - not stringy or gloppy.  If it's not almost creamy and velvety, add more pasta water and pull, repeating until creamy and smooth.

Serve immediately, topped with a small sprinkle of parmigiano reggiano cheese and serve with bread.

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