My husband and I have decided to start cooking more at home. In NYC, where we live, it's easy to get take-out or go out to eat every night - there are literally four good restaurants within one block of our building, and countless good restaurants in our area that deliver. We love food, and after going to Italy for our honeymoon and eating so much incredible food there, we decided that we should learn to cook more of it ourselves. We tried a new recipe tonight - one I got from epicurious and modified - and I'm going to document it here, along with lessons learned and what we'll do differently next time. I hope to have a lot more of these posts going forward!
Appetizer: Burrata crostini
Main course: Truffle-infused fusilli with sauteed swiss chard and burrata
Wine pairing: Spanish white - Cuevas de Castilla Conclass Rueda 07
We based our meal around burrata, a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is pure mozzarella and the inside is a mixture of mozzarella and cream. It gives it a lovely soft and creamy texture (similar to ricotta on the inside), and we thought it would be perfect for a pasta topping.
For our appetizer, we thinly sliced a baguette, put small dollops of burrata on top, and sprinkled a bit of Italian sea salt on it. It was quite delicious, though next time we will use smaller pieces of burrata and season the baguette slices with a little olive oil and basil and toast them for a crisper crostini.
For the entree, we cooked fusilli, boiling it in water seasoned with truffle salt instead of regular salt. While that was cooking, we sauteed some chopped swiss chard leaves in a mixture of equal parts butter and olive oil, seasoned with a little garlic and an herb mix of basil, bay, marjoram, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
When the pasta was finished, we strained it and tossed it in a little olive oil. Then we stirred in the swiss chard and mixed it in with the pasta. After we put it on the plate, we topped off the steaming pasta with a healthy dollop of burrata, and sprinkled a little of the herb mixture and sea salt on top. It was also really good, though next time, we'll season the water for the pasta with equal parts regular salt and truffle salt, as the truffle flavor and aroma was a little strong, and we'll only use the burrata in one dish, as it's a lot of creamy, delicious cheese for one sitting.
Photo of the appetizer and full recipe after the jump.
Update: I tried making the crostini again as a snack, and brushed the bread with olive oil and sprinkled it with a mix of organic Italian herbs, then topped with burrata and a little sea salt again. The results were even tastier and I've added another photo after the jump.
1 small baguette
1 tablespoon olive oil
Basil or herb mixture, if desired
1/4 pound burrata, sliced into 1-inch chunks
Thinly slice baguette. Brush lightly with olive oil; season with herbs or pepper if desired. Top with one small slice of burrata. Sprinkle with crushed mediterranean sea salt and serve.
Truffle-infused fusilli with sauteed swiss chard and burrata
Part 1: Sauteed swiss chard (adapted from this recipe)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon basil or mixed herbs, finely chopped
2 large bunches Swiss chard, stems trimmed, leaves cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
Melt butter with oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic and herbs. Sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chard; stir to coat. Cover; cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to pasta (see below).
Part 2: Fusilli with burrata (adapted with major changes from this recipe, substituting the swiss chard above for the spinach in the original recipe and changing a lot of the rest)
1/2 pound fusilli (spiral-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons truffle salt (next time, we will use 1 tablespoon regular salt and 1 tablespoon truffle salt, but if you like a strong truffle aroma, use the full 2 tbsp)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 pound burrata cheese, cut into 2-inch chunks
Boil a large pot of water. When water begins to boil, put in the 2 tablespoons of salt, then the pasta. Cook pasta until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Strain pasta into colander and drizzle olive oil over pasta; toss. Stir in sauteed swiss chard (above) and toss until thoroughly mixed. Divide pasta among plates. Top with burrata cheese, sprinkle with salt and pepper or herbs to taste, and serve.