I did something this week that I almost never do–I went into the grocery store without a dinner plan. I believe that having a plan and a coordinated shopping list is important anytime I walk into a store. Having a list keeps me focused on what I am aiming to achieve; prevents me from buying too many things on impulse; and ensures that I don’t forget any ingredients. Along with not shopping whilst hungry, having a list is a top priority. But this week I broke that rule and it was kind of fun.
I always enter Safeway from the eastern entrance. I prefer that side of the parking lot and almost always need to purchase a bottle of wine which is located on that side of the store. Upon entry, I remembered that I had seen some Burrata cheese with black truffles in the display near the deli. Burrata is an Italian-style cheese made from cow’s milk. The best way that I can describe it is an outside layer of fresh mozzarella wrapped around a creamy, melty center. Officially, the inside is a stracciatella (shredded and stretched fresh curd) mixed with cream. Burrata has been having a bit of a moment and is popping up on menus everywhere. My burrata included black truffles mixed into the creamy center.
Truffles are fungi tubers that grow beneath the surface of the soil. They cannot be commercially cultivated, instead refusing to be tamed, truffles are discovered for only a few months of the year in very specific terroir. They are rare and they are delicious, therefore they are prized. While fresh truffles are a seasonal delicacy, the art of preserving a truffle has been mastered resulting in products like truffle butter, truffle oil, and truffle cheese.
Truffles love dancing with mushrooms. They are both fungi and have a complementary flavor profile. So, after grabbing some cream, I headed over to produce in search of a companion ingredient. I was thrilled to find bulk fresh Shiitake mushrooms in stock. The universe must have been conspiring, this was the first time that I had ever found whole shiitake mushrooms. Two bags of mushrooms were added to my cart, since I got some criminis, too. My dinner plan was coming together.
My next stop was to find some fresh pasta noodles. Typically, the store stocks a variety of fresh pastas including linguini or fettuccini, ravioli, and tortellini. There is usually more of a variety of filled pasta, but you can reliably find at least one variety of long noodles in the cooler. This go around, I found some fresh spaghetti. A few shallots completed my purchase as I was confident that I had everything else I needed in my pantry, and I was off to my kitchen to cook some dinner.
Kelli’s Delicious Pasta
2 T olive oil
5 slices bacon cut into squares
2 shallots - peeled and sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 T butter
12 oz assorted mushrooms - shiitake and crimini sliced or cut into chunks
1 t dried thyme
1 t dried marjoram
¼ t smoked paprika
¼ t hot paprika
1 c dry sherry
1 c heavy cream
1 package black truffle burrata, drained thoroughly
Truffle oil (optional)
1 package long noodle pasta, cooked according to package directions
- Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium or medium-low heat. Add bacon and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is almost fully crisped. Remove bacon and hold. Add shallots, butter, and garlic, and cook over medium-low heat until lightly caramelized. Add mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally until they have released their water and are soft. Add dry spices and stir for 1 minute.
- Deglaze with dry sherry, bring to a boil, lower heat to maintain a simmer, and reduce until gravy-like. Add cream and reduce until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions.
- To serve, add pasta to mushroom sauce and twirl to coat. Portion pasta in bowls then top with additional mushrooms and sauce. Tear one ball of burrata per serving into chunks and scatter over the pasta. Drizzle with truffle oil and enjoy.
Missing my friend Leo 💜