Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Carbohydrate Lovers and Sweet Corn and Mushroom Truffle Pasta

It is no secret that we are a house full of pasta lovers. And that's the understatement of the year. I laugh because most recipes from health-related sources usually say a recipe containing a pound of pasta serves 8. And really it should, if you're exercising proper portion control (and trust me, I'm all about portion control). Talk to my kids though. The oldest two alone can put away 1/2 pound of pasta in one sitting. My husband and I consider it a success if we are able to make it to the end of the meal with satiated hunger pangs when pasta is on the menu. The pasta just gets devoured!

I am aware of this. And so I plan around it. We don't serve pasta every night because I don't want my kids to subsist on carbohydrates alone (and they would). I also strive to prepare healthful pasta recipes, using whole wheat noodles when possible, and incorporating vegetables. But it is important to me that my kids to learn to control their own food intake and not feel like mommy and daddy are "policing" their every bite. So when pasta is on the table, they can have at it (and they do). I usually serve one of their favorite fruits or vegetables as a side dish and this often helps temper their pasta intake some and encourages variety. But there are some nights when they pick around the veggies and protein and literally eat only the noodles. ONLY NOODLES! Nothing else. And this is normal and OK.

I plan to pepper my blog with posts about nutrition and feeding kids as it is a topic I am extremely passionate about. I also happen to be in the trenches myself with my own 3 children. It can be incredibly challenging to maneuver the conflicting messages available about raising healthy eaters. I am hoping this space can be a place where you can not only find new recipes, but also ask questions and use it as a resource for feeding your own family well.

With that said, I'll share one of our favorite pasta recipes. :) It came from Emeril Lagasse of all people (as in BAM! Kick it up a notch!) and I think I happened upon it back in 2008 when Graham and I discovered this delicious thing called truffle oil. I know the judges on Top Chef would balk at the use of the "fake" oil form of the mushroom but I'm fresh out of real truffle (wink) and I don't have a gajillion dollars to spend on my dinners. And, I guess more importantly, I'm not on Top chef. So the oil it is!

Anyway, if you love mushrooms, you have to try this stuff. Truffle oil isn't exactly cheap (except when compared to the actual truffle mushroom!) but a little goes a long way. You can find it at most supermarkets these days, at specialty shops, online and at Cost Plus World Market.

This dish is another summer favorite, showcasing sweet corn when it is at it's finest. For me, "exotic mushrooms" usually means a combination of shitake and cremini because those are the options readily available at Trader Joe's. I also like to buy their diced pancetta cubes and dried linguine for this recipe. And what the heck does it mean to chiffonade basil? Basically it's a technique used to create long, thin strips. To chiffonade, stack a handful of fresh basil leaves on top of one another and then roll together into a cigar. Thinly slice perpendicular to the roll, creating ribbons of basil. But if that feels out of your level of kitchen comfort, chopped tastes just the same! ;) Enjoy!

Sweet Corn and Mushroom Truffle Pasta
(from Emeril Lagasse)

1 pound fresh fettuccini pasta
8 ounces pancetta, julienned or cubed
2 ears of sweet corn  
1 pound assorted exotic mushrooms, sliced
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
Drizzle of white truffle oil
3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chiffonade fresh basil
Cook the pasta in a pot of boiling water until al dente, about 4 to 5 minutes for fresh pasta or about 8 to 10 minutes for dried. Remove the pasta from the water and drain completely. Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan or skillet, over medium heat, render the pancetta until crispy, about 5 minutes. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside. Using a sharp knife, remove the kernels from the cob. Add the corn to the pancetta fat and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the garlic and continue to sauté for 1 minute. Toss the pasta with the corn and mushrooms, reserved pancetta, a drizzle of white truffle oil, the cheese and basil and serve.
"Serves 8" (or 4-6, if you have little carb-lovers)


  1. Your kids eat mushrooms? jealous. Love hearing your kid feeding strategies & philosophy!

    1. Thanks Kari! I will try to keep the kid & feeding posts coming.

  2. oh, and next time you are in fairhaven, the olive oil shop there, Drizzle, has oil infused with real truffle and its not that pricey if I remember right. Their balsamic is also to die for and I buy a bottle of the their gremolata oil just to use for salad dressings. Actually you should just take me with you if you go.


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