Rustic Creamy Fettucine
Updated: Feb 24, 2019
Quality is the name of the game for this flavorful, perfect-for-fall pasta dish
As is so often the case, I decided to indulge in what may be favorite culinary indulgence (both to eat and to make) - PASTA! Cue excited cooking dance.
I initially wanted to do a nice saffron cream with lobster (I was definitely feeling indulgent that day) but when THREE grocery stores lacked these delectable crustaceans, I went in a totally different direction. Here's what ended up in my basket:
Amounts listed are per person. Multiply accordingly. When in doubt, round up!
Shiitake mushrooms (2oz uncooked) - substitute Cremini if you can't get Shiitake
Kale (1 cup uncooked)
Radiccio (3/4 cup)
Shallots (1 tsp finely sliced or chopped)
Taleggio Cheese (2 oz broken up into small bits)
Heavy Cream (1/2 cup)
Butter (1 tbsp)
Fettucine (3 nests or according to package)
Coarse sea salt (to taste)
White pepper (to taste)
Parmesan (2 tbsp for sauce plus additional for taste)
Dry white wine (1/8 - 1/4 cup)
EVOO (1 tbsp for sauce, 1- 2 tbsp for veggies)
Disclaimer: I am just awful at noting quantities so these are approximate. I cook the Italian way - a little this, a dash of that, a sprinkle of the other thing... I will do better going forward so that you can have a proper shot at replicating what's listed in my cooking adventures.
Moving along! I like to get all the prep (slicing, setting up etc) out of the way to avoid ending up rushed or screwing up timing.
Preheat your oven to 400F. Tear the kale into rough rose petal-sized bits, and slice the radicchio into ribbons about 1/2 inch wide. Toss very lightly in olive oil with a pinch of salt. Spread on a sheet pan and roast for about 10 minutes - keep an eye on it! I like more char on mine.
Set the water to boil - a medium pot for 1 or 2 people, a large for 4 or more.
Heat a sautee pan on low-medium heat and once warmed up, add shallots & EVOO, and butter. Just as the shallots begin to soften, add the Shiitakes and raise heat to medium. Add white wine and allow it to sear off, then turn heat down to low.
Stir in the cream - once it heats up, it should bubble very gently. Watch carefully and stir regularly - but gently! If it gets too hot it will burn or break, and no one likes broken cream sauce :(
The water should be close to boiling. Once it does, add about 1tbsp of salt for a medium pot, 2 for a large one. Lower the heat a touch so that it's a gentle boil. Set a timer according to packaging for 2 minutes less than recommended cooking time.
Gradually add the Parmesan to the cream sauce, a dash of white pepper, and a little pinch of salt. Stir gently until the Parmesan has incorporated. If the sauce seems thick, add a tablespoon or two of cream.
Add Taleggio cheese, gently stirring into sauce until it's melted/incorporated. Add the radicchio and kale. Add cream again if needed.
Check the pasta to make sure it is al dente. If it's still too firm, just leave it in the water for the remaining 2 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of pasta water to the sauce and stir.
Once the pasta is done, drain but DO NOT RINSE OR ADD OIL, then transfer to the pan with the cream sauce.
Use tongs or two forks to rotate and stir the pasta gently so it is coated in sauce. Do this for about 30-60 seconds, which helps the sauce bind to the noodle.
Plate. Sprinkle Parmesan to taste, and enjoy!
Invest in quality ingredients. Look for pasta made in Italy but also from wheat grown in Italy. It should just be water and semolina flour, maybe egg for certain varieties. Ideally it should be bronze cut as the added texture really helps sauce cling and makes for a toothier bite. I use the Parmesan from Trader Joe's, as it's quite affordable and very good quality. If it doesn't need refrigeration (Ahem, KRAFT), don't do it. It's dry, flavorless, and will add nothing to your dish.