Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Campanelle with Portobello, Tomato and Anchovy en Beaujolais Romano Crème






     A Little Bit Of Classic Umami Flavor!
     Today's pasta sauce has a few Italian ingredients, but cream sauces are rarely used for pasta in Italy.  America, France and Germany are where cream sauce pastas are popular.  
     The word "Umami" describes a deep rich seafood taste sensation.  During the last decade, food that features umami flavors has been in the limelight, especially in modern Asian-European fusion cuisine.  There are thousands of traditional European recipes that feature umami flavors and some of these entrées can be found on the menu at classic fine dining restaurants.  Italian cuisine has a long history of infusing umami flavors, especially in pasta, seafood and veal recipes.
     Up till the mid 1900's, many European countries traditionally used anchovies to season food, just like salt.  A little bit of anchovy filet or anchovy paste is all it takes to add saltiness and a pleasant umami flavor.  A generous amount of anchovy added to a recipe will create a bold umami flavor that may please those who really like anchovies, but it is important to remember that the majority of guests prefer delicate umami flavors.
     In modern times, food allergen awareness is part of menu writing.  When seafood or an item that adds umami flavor is part of a recipe it has to be mentioned in the recipe title, so those who have seafood allergies will know.  Items like Ponzu, Worcestershire Sauce, Caesar Salad Dressing and Fish Sauce contain anchovies or bonito, which gives these items a umami flavor.     
     When I made today's pasta recipe, I had no white wine to cook with, but I did have a little bit of French Beaujolais leftover in the refrigerator.  Beaujolais is made with an ancient Roman Gamay Grape varietal, which has a very low level of tannins.  Because Beaujolais tends to be smooth tasting red wine that is not excessively dry, it can work well in a cream pasta sauce, especially if a contrasting umami flavor is part of the equation.  Fresh dill and parsley help to lighten the rich flavor of the sauce.  The result is a comfortably bold tasting pasta sauce that will please those who want to experience a classic umami flavor sensation. 
     Campanelle Pasta is also known as "horn or bell pasta."  The Campanelle Pasta shape picks up a cream sauce nicely.

     Tomato Concasse:
     This recipe yields about 1/3 cup.
     Step 1:  Place a container of ice water on a countertop.
     Step 2:  Boil a pot of water over high heat.
     Place 2 medium size whole plum tomatoes in boiling water.
     Briefly boil the tomatoes till the skin starts to split and loosen.  (This only takes less than one minute.)
     Step 3:  Immediately remove the tomatoes from the pot and place them in the container of ice water.
     Completely cool the tomatoes.
     Step 4:  Peel the loose skin off of the tomatoes. 
     Trim the core off of the tops of the peeled tomatoes. 
     Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and pulp. 
     Step 5:  Finely chop the tomato filets.
     Set the Tomato Concasse aside or chill it for later use. 
   
     Campanelle with Portobello, Tomato and Anchovy en Beaujolais Romano Crème:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty portion.
     The sauce can be made in the same amount of time that is takes to cook the pasta (a la minute).  For a more casual pace, cook the pasta ahead of time and reheat it in the simmering sauce.  
     Step 1:  Start cooking 1 portion of Campanelle Pasta in boiling water over high heat till the pasta is al dente.
     *The sauce can be made while the pasta cooks!
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat. 
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped Bermuda Onion. 
     Add 2 minced cloves of garlic. 
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color. 
     Step 3:  Add 3 small portobello mushrooms that are cut into petite wedges. 
     Saute the mushrooms till they start to become tender. 
     Step 4:  Add the reserved Tomato Concasse (about 1/3 cup).
     Add 1 or 2 minced anchovy filets.
     Add 1 pinch of black pepper. 
     Sauté the tomatoes till they start to become tender. 
     Step 5:  Add 1/2 cup of Beaujolais Wine.
     Rapidly simmer till the volume of wine reduces by half. 
     Step 6:  Add 3/4 cup of cream. 
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Step 7:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 3 tablespoons of fine grated Pecorino Romano Cheese while constantly stirring.
     Stir till the cheese melts into the sauce.
     Gently simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a thin cream sauce consistency. 
     Step 8:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped fresh dill weed. 
     Add 1 teaspoon of chopped Italian Parsley.
     Stir the sauce. 
     *Taste the sauce and add salt if necessary.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.
     Step 9:  The pasta should be ready by this time.  When the Campanelle Pasta is al dente, drain the water off of the pasta.
     Add the Campanelle Pasta to the sauce. 
     Toss the sauce and pasta together.
     Remove the pan from the heat. 
     Step 10:  Mound the pasta on a plate. 
     Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of finely grated Pecorino Romano Cheese over the pasta. 
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig. 
   
     The flavor of the sauce is rich and light at the same time.  Campanelle Pasta is always pretty looking on a plate!

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