Recipes: Creamy Truffle Pasta with Roasted Romanesco

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If you hadn’t guessed by now from my last name, I’m Italian. Okay, I’m part Italian – part Portuguese. I’m just starting to explore my Portuguese roots more, but have always had a clear connection to Italian side via our culinary traditions.

Pasta of some sort was always a staple in my house growing up. My dad taught me our family’s “secret sauce” recipe when I still had to stand on a stool to see into the pot on the stove. He showed me how to sweat the onions, how to balance the blend pureed and chopped tomatoes for the perfect texture, and what special ingredient (hint: fennel seeds) made our sauce so special – shh don’t tell anyone! We even had a hand crank pasta maker that we’d press our own pasta with on the rare occasion my dad was really feeling inspired.

But typically, it was the boxed spaghetti flash cooked in a pot of boiling water and loaded with the family red sauce.   Or that kids variation with spaghetti covered in melted butter, salt and parmesan cheese…remember that one? I have some serious childhood memories around long days spent playing outside until we were completely exhausted and coming inside to scarf down big bowls of buttery pasta!

romanescoIMG_9215IMG_9278IMG_9324This recipe is the adult spin off of that rich, cheesy pasta I used to eat as a kid. The grown up, gluten-free version uses my favorite kelp noodles coated in a creamy white truffle sauce made from steamed cauliflower, soaked sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, caramelized onions, shallots and white truffle oil. Roasted romanesco, chopped kalamata olives, peppery arugula and fresh herbs finish this dish off. I could eat this everyday.

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IMG_9698Romanesco Pasta

To stock my pantry with odd and curious oils and spices, Fine Food Specialists has become a new go-to resource, with everything from the truffle oil in this recipe to fennel pollen (hint to a new recipe coming your way!). Bookmark this site when you’re in need of a unique ingredient you can’t find locally.

IMG_9799IMG_9842IMG_9837CREAMY TRUFFLE PASTA WITH ROASTED ROMANESCO

Romanesco
1 head romanesco
½ lemon
olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Tear the romanesco by hand into smaller pieces. Toss in olive, salt & pepper and a little squeeze of lemon juice. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until romanesco is tender on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from oven and toss in the pasta.

Truffle Sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 large shallot
2 cups chopped cauliflower
2 cups sunflower seeds, soaked 2 hours
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp white truffle oil

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent and lightly golden. Add the chopped cauliflower and cover pot with lid to steam, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Transfer the mixture to a high-speed blender and add the remaining ingredients. Puree until creamy smooth. Store in an airtight glass container until ready to use.

Pasta
1 package kelp noodles, soaked in hot water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup fresh oregano leaves, torn
½ cup fresh basil leaves, torn
½ cup kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup fresh arugula or spinach

In a large bowl, add the package of kelp noodles and cover with hot water + a teaspoon of baking soda. Soak for 15 minutes to soften the noodles.  Drain the water and rinse well, set aside until ready to use. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent and lightly golden. Add the kelp noodles, 1/2 cup or more of truffle sauce, the chopped herbs and olives to lightly heat until warm. Transfer to bowl and toss in the roasted romanesco and fresh greens. Serve hot!

Makes 2-3 servings


Love this recipe and others? It’s the Saveur 2015 Food Blog Awards and the polls are open for nominations this week! If my blog or other inspiring bloggers out there have effected positive change in your life, please take some time to nominate us and show a little love for our work. I’m hoping for “Best Use of Video” nomination to share the love with my friends at Choate House who helped me bring to life my Vidya Seasonal Kitchen culinary lifestyle videos!

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Recipes: Creamy Truffle Pasta with Roasted Romanesco”

  1. I’m not a kelp noodles lover, but this pasta seems delicious! I rarely eat “normal” pasta too, and being 100% Italian living in Italy it’s a bit strange for most people 😛

    • I fell out of touch with kelp noodles for a while and forgot how good they can be when done right. The secret is soaking them in hot water and baking soda to soften them up and the covering them creamy sauce so the fat sticks and coats the noodles. It’s totally non-conventional noodle in Italy, but I bet you could convince a few people to like it 😉

    • I can only imagine! I get shit and I’m only half Italian. I’ll admit I wasn’t a kelp noodle lover either until you soak them and cook them up a bit to soften them…oh and drown them in a creamy sauce 😉

  2. Hi Claire,

    Loved everything about this dish, so I made it last night with ingredients on hand, sans truffle oil and using instead roasted shiitakes. I also subbed spinach for arugula, capers for olives and thyme for basil…despite my substitutions it seemed to hold its own! So satisfying and so light. Thanks for this inspired take on a classic Italian plate 🙂

    ps. I used 1c pureed cauliflower for your 2 and still had PLENTY of sauce. Looking forward to using it again!

    • Wow, great substitutions! I’ll have to try that with the roasted shiitakes sometime. When I worked at Matthew Kenney, we would get the smoking gun out and smoke/dehydrate the shiitakes…so good! I definitely doubled this sauce recipe to double serving, and even used the leftover sauce for a DIY pizza night afterwards. It goes a long way! Thanks for the notes 🙂

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