Friday, August 19, 2011

Pasta with Creamy Truffle Sauce

I got a little ambitious last weekend with dried beans. My dear red headed curly-Q and I headed to Flagstaff for some escape from the blazing Phoenix sun and wanted to make the weekend cheap. We did a pretty good job considering we made one trip to the grocery story and ate out once for breakfast. To keep the food cost down I grabbed a jar of beans and a jar of rice (that is how I store my bulk foods - in old applesauce jars) and a can of those spicy fire roasted tomatoes I've been so keen on for the past few weeks.

At first I thought that making a big batch of beans would be a good way to save some prep time throughout the next week. So I cooked up a bunch of anasazi beans, made our lovely dish in Flagstaff using half the amount and headed back to the heat with the leftovers. Each night throughout the next week I looked at those beans and thought "uhhhh so what do I do with these now?"

We tried a couple of things at home - beans and potatoes, roasted eggplant "hummus" but by the time I came up on the very last scoop, I just had to get rid of these suckers. I'm a three bean salad kind of girl, I don't like to stick to one variety for too long. So one additional idea came to mind. While many vegan sauce recipes out there feature pureed beans, I had never really tried it myself. It seemed like the sauce would be too lumpy. Sure I'll use a good pinch of garbanzo flour once in a while, but as a base? I wasn't convinced it would actually be creamy.

That's because I didn't my food processor enough credit or enough time to do it's thang. Patience. When you let it go for more than a minute, it really gets its groove. It tore through those beans after adding enough broth and gave me a straight up sauce in about 4 minutes. With a couple of flavor punches like truffle spread and a garlic, this dinner was no effort. Don't have a jar of truffle spread floating around? Go to an Italian grocer or substitute with olive tapenade, mashed roasted garlic cloves, or another paste-type item with a strong flavor. I'm convinced this could even be served in a diner and pulled off as gravy. Mmmm comfort food.

So wait, I said anasazi beans above and it says cannellini beans below. So which is it? I figure if red beans were delicious, cannellini would be down right spectacular. You make the call.

Pasta with Creamy Truffle Sauce and Oyster Shrooms
Makes: 3-4 servings
Cook time: 15-20 minutes


1 c. cooked cannellini beans
1 clove garlic
2 T. nutritional yeast
1 heaping T. truffle-mushroom pâté or spread
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp sea salt*
1 ½ - 2 c. broth (homemade or from bouillon)

1 T. olive oil
3 c. oyster mushrooms
Pinch of salt

Any kind of pasta cooked according to package directions
Freshly ground black pepper

*Note: reduce the salt if using broth made from bouillon.


In a food processor, combine beans, garlic, nutritional yeast, truffle pâté, lemon juice and sea salt. Process on high and slowly add broth through the chute, half a cup at a time until desired thickness is reached. Process until sauce is completely smooth, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer sauce to a saucepan and heat over medium low until bubbling.  Turn heat all the way to low. If mixture is too thin, let the sauce bubble until it thickens, whisking constantly to avoid clumps.

While the sauce is heating, prepare the mushrooms. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and add the mushrooms without crowding too much. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Season with a pinch of salt.

To assemble, top prepared pasta with a generous helping of mushrooms. Top with ¾ cup of sauce and a good grind of black pepper.

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