Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cooking: Pasta with Truffle Salt and Soft Egg (2 Ways)

Sometimes the simplest of dishes are the ones that satisfy me the most. When I'm hungry and faced with an empty fridge at home, I grab a few essentials and make a meal of it. In my kitchen, you can almost always find some eggs, dried pasta, and some kind of hard cheese. With some water and salt, this my friends, makes a meal.

Start the cooking process by boiling some water, then adding salt. Add the pasta until cooked to al dente. Drain and place in serving dish. Add olive oil and truffle salt. Truffle salt is definitely a luxury item. A small jar of it can cost around $20. But I find that a little does go a long way. So that small jar that was gifted to me awhile ago has lasted for almost 2 years now and I've hardly made a dent. So, if you want to splurge on a luxury ingredient that will last for a while, truffle salt is a good choice.

Back to the dish at hand. While the pasta cools, place your cracked egg into a ladle. Submerge the whole thing into the still warm salted water slowly. The residual heat will cook the whites through and leave the yolk nice and runny. Be careful not to overcook it. I'm not sure exactly how long this method took. However, I took the egg out before I thought the white completely became opaque. But when I cut into it while eating, it was cooked well. So my advice, take it out before you actually think it's done. You'll probably be happier that way.

And lastly, the cheese. I grated a generous amount of grana padano on top creating a creamy, nutty, and sharp taste to the pasta. Break the egg, mix it with the cheese and you have yourself something pretty decadent.
Although I enjoyed the dish, I felt as if the truffle was overpowered by the taste of the cheese. Grana padano is a stronger, more pungent cheese. So, the salt was wasted there.

Unsatisfied with my results, I tried to remake the dish on another night. The first change came with the beginning of the dish. I placed some olive oil, butter, and truffle salt on the bottom of the dish so when the hot pasta hits it, it'll absorb those glorious flavors.
After the assembled my dish, I brought a pot of water to boil, salted it, then added the cheese stuffed frozen tortellini. I also tossed in my egg. I placed the timer for 5 minutes and waited patiently. Immediately after the 5 minutes are up, I took the egg out and ran it under cold water. While the water cooled off my egg, I scooped the pasta out and placed it into the bowl with the oil, butter, and salt. I tossed it quickly and the smell was lovely. Hot pasta, melting butter, fragrant oil, and the truffle just smelled really nice together.
While the pasta cooled, I took the egg out of the running water and dried it. Then I peeled it carefully without breaking through the whites. On top of the pasta it went like a happy present waiting to be opened. I pierced the egg with my fork and the yolk ran smoothly through the pasta. The whites were really smooth while the yolk was creamy. Oooh, soft boiled eggs are awesome too!
This version of the dish was cheesy from the pasta and creamy from the egg. As for the truffle salt, it was definitely more pronounced but still wasn't a big player. In the end, I think it's the cheese. It definitely overpowers a lot of the flavors. Next try would be without the cheese and maybe a fried egg, just to change things up.

2 comments:

  1. Oh. My. Gosh. This looks so FREAKIN delicious - where did you get your truffle salt?? I am craving this BIG TIME for lunch...or maybe breakfast...can't really wait till lunch to eat it...ps VERY impressed with your soft boiled egg. I always break mine when I try to peel it!

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  2. @Fritos: The truffle salt is from Dean & Deluca. It's pricey but like I said in the post, it lasts for a really long time.

    Also, when peeling a soft boiled egg, try at one end where the air pocket is. It's easier to start cracking it there.

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