Yes, summer is definitely over, but there are many things to love about fall and winter. One of those is the cuisine. Colder weather tends to bring on richer deeper flavors and warmer cozier meals, something that I am definitely a fan of. This dish contains many ingredients that I am also definitely a fan of.
October is national pasta month. Happy national pasta month, or… last day of national pasta month! As most of you can tell, I am a huge fan of pasta. I guess two years in Italy can do that to a person, or maybe everyone is as obsessed with pasta as I am. If you’ve read a bit through my blog, you’ll know that as a type 1 diabetic, I didn’t always have the best relationship with pasta. Two years in Italy, however, changed me. La pasta is not soft floppy carby things that go with red sauce, but a much more complex starch. In The Carbohydrate Counting Controversy I discuss glycemic index and the difference between overcooked pasta and al dente pasta. Pasta cooked al dente makes all the difference. Not only does it lower the glycemic index, but it makes a much more interesting flavorful dish, so please please please celebrate the end of national pasta month by cooking your pasta al dente.
Shallots are a type of onion, but have a much more mild flavor than the common vidalia onion. My favorite food network star, Giada de Laurentiis often uses shallots for a sweeter milder flavor. I personally like caramelizing my shallots to really bring out that sweetness.
Another thing that I am obsessed with is mushrooms. There’s something about mushrooms. They have a completely unique earthy rich taste that reminds me of the mountains, but they are also a finicky flavor, not to be taken lightly. For something so mundane looking, i funghi really do pack a flavor punch. When cooking mushrooms, make sure you cook them in a large pan with plenty of room. Mushrooms like their space.
4. Truffle Oil
Truffles are another beautifully rich unique earthy flavor, but they are nothing like mushrooms. Truffles are rather unassuming as they look like lumpy warty tubers, not like precious high-class ingredients worth their weight in gold. I actually had the opportunity, when living in Tuscany six years ago, to go truffle hunting near Siena, Italy. The dogs didn’t sniff out too many of these precious tubers, but it was still a lovely experience. It may sound like hyperbole, but my life changed, or at least my cooking took a giant leap, when my aunt Wendy introduced me to truffle oil. It is now a staple in my oil cabinet. Although there is great debate over white or black truffles, I tend to go for the black truffle oil.
Tagliatelle ai Funghi e Kale
- 3 Shallots
- 2 tbs Olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups Crimini Mushrooms
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 large bunch kale
- 1 lb tagliatelle (I like Vita Reale’s Tagliatelle)
- 1/2 tsp black truffle oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- parmesan to top
Fill a large pot with water. Cover and place over high heat.
Chop shallots and mushrooms.
In a large pan place onions, olive oil, and salt over medium to low heat. As shallots begin to stick to the bottom of the pan add spoonfuls of the white wine and stir. Cook shallots like this until they are sweet and a deep golden color.
While the shallots are caramelizing, slice crimini mushrooms and chop kale. Add mushrooms to caramelized shallots and cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until mushrooms are soft and sweet.
Add kale and turn up heat. Cook quickly (1-2 minutes) until kale is cooked but still maintains its form.
Once the water in your pot has boiled, toss in a little bit of salt. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions stated on the box. Make sure not to exceed that time. I typically try my pasta a minute or so before the time on the box to make sure I am not overcooking it.
Strain and rinse pasta. Throw back in pot and mix in sauce. Add Truffle oil and mix into pasta. Top with fresh ground black pepper and freshly ground parmesan cheese.