Monday, February 9, 2009

Amuse bouche and spinach pasta

After a leisurely stroll around Locust Point yesterday (including an awesome pit stop at Thornton's Pub - a hole in the wall bar and home to sweet potato fries with honey cinnamon sauce), we spent the rest of the day cooking Sunday night dinner. True to Italian fashion, we prefer to drag the process out for most of the day, sipping on wine and enjoying tiny snacks along the way.

Joe lead the charge with an amuse bouche that I think was the most flavorful dish he's ever made. We never make meat, although sometimes we find ourselves missing the savory meals that only meat can truly provide. He had bought three small pieces of lamb - literally 2 oz. each - for a total of $2 as a teaser to our main course. Amuse bouche essentially means "to please the mouth."

Final product was kiwi-covered-sweet-wine-mushroom-cap-on-sea-salt-encrusted-lamb. The amuse bouche was literally only two bites, and small ones at that, but it was rich enough in flavor to make you feel guilty about eating anything else after it. We savored every bite until we couldn't wring any more flavor out of it. But isn't that how great food should really taste? You don't want to swallow it for fear of letting go of the flavor.

To make this, he'd cooked the lamb in a pan for 3o seconds on each side and then baked at 350 for three minutes. That's it! He'd sliced one whole kiwi and sauteed it down in a pot with a stick of butter, pinch of salt, and a final dusting of flour to thicken the texture.

We spent the post-amuse bouche hours preparing spinach pasta made from scratch with our new pasta machine. I boiled 1 cup of spinach in water, drained it, squeezed out the water with my hands, and patted it dry with paper towels. After all that, that fluffy cup of spinach was boiled down to half the size of my palm. I threw it in the food processor and gradually added 2 Tbsp of water to create a paste. I transferred the spinach puree to a bowl and whisked in 1 egg.

Meanwhile, Joe was making the pasta dough. When the dough was partially kneaded, he formed a "volcano" with the dough, and I poured the spinach puree into the center. Kind of like lava from a 7th grade science project. He kept kneading the spinach in, and after rolling, cutting, pressing and slicing the dough, we had perfectly colored light green spinach pasta! It's so fun cranking out the pretty noodles. I keep having this image of me sitting in front of a MOUNTAIN of green noodles. Ha!

I had lightly sauteed some sundried tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms and eggplant, which we tossed with the pasta. Topped that bad boy off with a beautiful 2004 Cuvee Margot.

Hot damn! Homerun at our house! I think next time I want to try sweet potato pasta. Who wants to join us for dinner?

1 comment:

hthornton11 said...

Thanks for giving Thornton's Pub a shout out! Much love!

Heather Thornton