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!
This 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.
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.
CREAMY TRUFFLE PASTA WITH ROASTED ROMANESCO
1 head romanesco
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.
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.
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!