Whenever Patrick and I eat out (usually while traveling) I am always on the hunt for recipe inspiration. I’ll even stoop so low as to take photos of menus, just for idea inspiration, of course, and promptly forget said photo until, months later, I have a moment of recall. Next ensues a frantic search through the thousands of photos on my phone just so I can find “that one thing we ate” at such and such restaurant in Vancouver, Phoenix, Vietnam, or wherever it is the tantalizing dish originated.
You can guess where this is headed. I hesitate to make any remote comparison with my pasta recipe and the one I ate at the award-winning restaurant, Nightingale, in Vancouver, BC. First of all, their dish was made with spaetzle and not fusilli pasta. Second, I will never be able to recreate the deliciousness I remember, and unfortunately the entrée is no longer on their menu. So you’re stuck with my version, but I hope you’ll try it! Despite what you may have inferred from my self-deprecating comments, Patrick and I love our version and eat this pasta regularly. The sauce is creamy, but not too heavy like an alfredo, as it is cut with broth. I like to think of it as a pasta you can eat year-round…light enough for summer and cozy enough for winter. In the summer you can use fresh corn, and in the fall or winter you could showcase in-season Brussels sprouts. Whenever you make it, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
MUSHROOM, CORN, AND BRUSSELS SPROUT PASTA WITH TRUFFLED BREADCRUMBS
inspired by a dish we ate at The Nightingale
serves 4-6 as an entrée
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb. crimini mushrooms, de-stemmed and diced
1 yellow onion, diced
15 oz corn, either canned or cut fresh off the cob (approximately 1.5 cups corn)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
8 oz shaved brussels sprouts*
truffle oil, several drops, both for the sauce and for the breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3.5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetarian broth
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sherry, optional
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb fusilli pasta
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
freshly grated parmesan, for serving
Heat the olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven over medium heat (I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet). Sauté the mushrooms and onions in olive oil for 10 minutes- lightly salt them and stir occasionally. Meanwhile, heat a medium-large pot of salted water until boiling (for cooking your pasta).
While you are waiting for the salted water to boil, add the corn and garlic and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Add more salt to taste, if needed. Next add the shaved brussels and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the truffle oil and butter. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for about a minute, stirring constantly. Lastly, pour in the chicken stock, a little bit at a time (stirring frequently), and bring to a low simmer.
If your salted water is boiling by now, go ahead and cook the pasta 2 minutes less than al dente** (the pasta will finish cooking in the sauce).
Meanwhile, add to your sauce the heavy cream, sherry, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low.
When your pasta is finished cooking, drain it, stir it with a glug of olive oil, then add to your sauce. Simmer the pasta in the sauce for an additional 5-7 minutes, until pasta is cooked to your preference and the sauce thickens. Salt and pepper to taste.
To make the truffled breadcrumbs: In a small bowl, whisk together a few drops of truffle oil with the breadcrumbs.
Serve the pasta with truffled breadcrumbs and freshly grated parmesan.
*you can either a) buy them pre-shaved, b) shave them with a mandolin, or c) slice them thinly with a knife
**see your pasta packaging for al dente boiling time