Valentine’s for Two
Lady and the Tramp Style
BY TOM YATES
Like walking a tightrope of hope, navigating the frenzy around special occasion date nights can be tricky business. I’m looking at you, Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s a big night out at a fancy-shmancy restaurant, the comfort of a local dive bar, or the warmth of a cozy fireside meal, we all want something special, romantic, and memorable. And while I’m down with the glitz, glam, and hoopla of a big night out, I’m also perfectly content with a simple low key riff on wine and cheese at home.
Drunken Red Wine Spaghetti With Gorgonzola Mousse.
Spaghetti cooked in red wine brings sexy to the table.
Whip It Up.
The creamy buttery texture of blue-veined Italian gorgonzola dolce works magic when blended into a savory ethereal mousse.
After bringing 6 ounces gorgonzola and 3 ounces cream cheese to room temperature, I used an old fashioned hand held mixer to whip them together and set the mix aside.
Working with a chilled bowl and whisk on a stand mixer, I whipped 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream until soft peaks formed before adding 1 tablespoon sherry. When the whipped cream formed stiff peaks, I gently folded the creamed gorgonzola into the whipped cream, covered the mousse with plastic wrap, and set it aside.
Lady And The Tramp.
Spaghetti. Plain old dried spaghetti. As much as I love making fresh pasta, it doesn’t work with this method. It cooks too quickly. Dried spaghetti needs time to absorb the wine as it cooks while remaining al dente. Total win.
Working over a medium flame, I sauteed 2 minced shallots in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wide high-sided saute pan. When the shallots turned translucent, I added 2 minced garlic cloves, a pinch of dried red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, salt, and cracked black pepper. After letting the garlic release into the oil, I hit the pan with a full bottle (750ml) of Cabernet-Sauvignon.
I filled a large stock pot with water and brought it to a rolling boil before adding a handful of salt and 1 pound dried spaghetti. After 3 minutes, I drained the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water, and feathered it into the simmering red wine. Once added to the wine, I cranked the heat to high and boiled the pasta for 6-8 minutes until tender (yet, still al dente) and the pasta absorbed the wine. After adding 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and 1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, I pulled the pasta from the heat.
While the pasta was still warm, I used a large carving fork to twirl it into shape, piped the gorgonzola mousse to the side, and nestled prosciutto-wrapped fresh Bartlett pears into the mousse before finishing with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, fresh parsley, and flaked sea salt.
Infused and stained with red wine, the pasta popped with robust earthy undertones. The light creamy mousse softened and swirled through the drunken spaghetti, tempering the tinge of heat from the red pepper flakes.
A little wine and cheese.
A little unexpected.
A lot of fabulous.
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