Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fettuccine with Smoked Oysters

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This dish is my major craving for the week. I've been trying to restrict my meat intake and having to eat the same soup for the last four days with bread and cheese gets to you at some point. Well, I've reached that point. I finally decided it was time to do something fancy and upscale even for just a meal or two. My inspiration was from having tasted the smoked oysters for dinner last weekend and being asked by my friend, who also brought them in the first place, what else can you do with smoked oysters? Well, I thought about this question for a minute and answered, a pasta with a cream-based sauce will be the best vehicle for such a strongly flavored ingredient. Looking up some recipes that used smoked oysters only proved that my initial answer was not too far off. I found numerous recipes that featured both a creamy sauce and a much more basic oil-based sauce which helped me decide that I'm going to give both of them a try. 

I'm going to start with the cream-based dish since this was something I thought about and I do have all the ingredients I needed to make this dish. The second dish will have to wait this weekend since my friends are not allowed to eat dairy during lent and can eat seafood only on certain days. The oil-based pasta will be great for dinner on Sunday night. Thus, I present to you my fettuccine with smoked oysters in a white creamy sauce and topped with the pièce de résistance, truffle oil. Yum!

Fettuccine with Smoked Oysters

1 3.75 oz smoked oysters in oil
1 15 oz artichoke hearts, canned
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 3/4 hot water
4 tbsp flour
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb fettuccine
salt and pepper
4 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1. Cook the fettuccine per packet instructions. As soon as you add the dried
    pasta in the salted boiling water, start making the sauce.

2. Heat the olive oil in a deep sauce pan at medium heat and saute the
    garlic. Cook until slightly browned. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for
    another minute.

3. Add the butter and cook until melted. Stir in the flour and mix well.

4. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and mix well. Once bubbly, add the water
    and stir well to break up any lumps.

5. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper and check for flavor. Grate
    the nutmeg with a few passes on the microplane zester over the sauce.
    Mix well.

6. Add the drained artichoke hearts and the oysters including the oil and mix
    well. Add the spinach and top with the cooked pasta. Mix well until the
    pasta is coated with the sauce and the spinach leaves have wilted.  Add
    the grated cheese and mix until just combined. If the sauce gets too thick,
    add some pasta water to loosen it.

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
To serve, arrange a nest of the pasta on a large plate and drizzle with the black truffle oil. Top with more grated cheese and a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley. I did use two other cheeses to top the pasta and of the two, I prefer the grated smoked Gouda over the grated Bergenost cheese which is a bit too creamy for the dish. The Black truffle oil is a bit of a surprise to me. I do not like it. It has a smokey flavor which permeates the dish and I am not a big fan of the smokey essence except in smoked seafood and smoked Gouda cheese. Too bad since it cost me 11$ for about 17tbsp of this infused oil. I'll have to find another way to use it in dishes that might complement it better.  

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