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May 02, 2011

Leftovers: Linguine with mushroom purée


I used the leftover mushroom purée and mushroom dice from the "Porcini, cherry, toasted garlic, almond" dish in my dinner the other night.

I took a handful of Bionaturae gluten-free linguine and laid it on a baking sheet, which I put into a 375F-degree oven for 8 minutes.  As it roasts, the pasta gets more golden and slightly brown in some spots, and the heat just brings out a kind of nutty flavor to it.  Well, maybe not nutty... but sort of.  Yeah, I'm sticking with nutty.  And heartier.  And, roastier.  I don't know how else to explain it.  It deepens the flavor, for sure.  Bionaturae is a really great brand of gluten-free pasta, and I really don't buy any other kind.  It's the closest I've ever tasted to "normal" pasta, and it holds up well in both hot and cold pasta preparations.

So, why roast the pasta?  I got the idea from Frank Ruta, owner and chef of Palena.  I went to Palena a few weeks ago for a nose-to-tail beef tasting menu, and he did this oxtail and cheek ragout that, quite literally, has been the best thing I've eaten so far this year.  My dining companions got to spoon theirs over roasted vermicelli (which they all thought was much more delicious than regular pasta).  I ate mine senza pasta, but texted myself a reminder to roast some dried pasta to see what it tasted like.

I finally did it, and it's goooooooood.

So, while the linguine was roasting (again, you just do it plain -- no oil or anything), I brought a pot of water to a boil.  While I boiled the pasta, I reheated the leftover mushroom purée and mushroom dice in a saucepan on the stove.  I added a little bit of olive oil to stretch it a bit, then when the pasta was done, I strained it and tossed it into the pan with the mushroom goodness.

Poured it all into a bowl, shaved some parm-reg on top, and dug in.  After my first bite, it struck me that I had some leftover ham powder, as well.  So, I dashed a bit of that on top, and it made my dinner even better.  A glass of Etude pinot noir rosé rounded it all out quite nicely.

And there you have it.  The pleasures and benefits of doing this blog are with me in my everyday eating.  They can be in yours, too. 

*  *  *  *  *

So, I got a nice surprise on Twitter the other day: I was nominated for Saveur's Best Cook-Through Blog.  Such an honor, and a pleasure to be nominated in the same category alongside my friends Ryan, Clay, and Zach.  So, click on the image below if you'd like to vote for me.  You'll have to register for a Saveur account (if you don't already have one), but it's free and takes about 20 seconds to do. Voting is open until May 12.

There are so many amazing, fun, wonderful people nominated in all the categories that just being together with them already feels like winning, you know?  Thanks, in advance, for your vote (if you vote for me).  Check out the other categories, too.  I think you'll find some great new blogs to check out -- some really fantastic cooking and writing out there right now.  Good luck, everyone!

*  *  *  *  *

I'm covering the James Beard Awards on Monday, May 9 -- this year, for The Washington Post.  (squeeeeeee!!!!)  I'll let you know when and where you can read the updates -- probably some of it via Twitter, and some on the Post's website.  More details as we figure them out.  Really looking forward to being in New York, and seeing some of my favorite chefs.  Happiness.

*  *  *  *  *

And, thank you for all your kinds words about my previous post.  You guys are the best.  I mean it.


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Roasting pasta! What an interesting idea. I will definitely try that next time.

Hey, quite unrelated, but for some reason this post moved me to say this : I really appreciate your blog. I will very likely never cook or eat the things you cook for it, I am not planning to buy the book or anything, but I do enjoy your writing, your humor, occasional snarkiness, your courage, and your personality which shines through all the posts.

I have never heard of roasting pasta, but this is so interesting I am making a note to try this myself.


When I was in college in the late 80s/early 90s, my boyfriend at the time would toast his pasta before he used it, too. As far as I know, he only did this with the pasta he used for his chicken soup.

I don't know where he learned it. He was 3rd generation Chinese from Mexico, and his family owned a tiny diner in the capital. He was also a budding foodie and was an excellent cook.

The honor for me is to be nominated alongside someone that inspired me to start my own food blog.

Thank *you* Carol.

Congrats on the nomination and on being selected to cover the Beardies (is that what they call them?)!

Noodle roasting is common in Mexico as I discovered from Rick Bayless. He demonstrated how fideos (noodles) are toasted in a hot pan before being added to soup. I haven't tried it with Italian pastas yet, but I think I will give it a go next time.

Also thanks for the tip on the GF pasta. I've had a few good ones, and a few really horrible ones, but I haven't tried the Bionaturae brand yet.

So ... do you just toss it into the oven and leave it undisturbed for 8 minutes, or do you need to flip it after 4 or something?

[I just left it undisturbed. Didn't touch it. --------CB]

Did you roast fresh or dried pasta?

[Bionaturae is dried pasta. I don't think this would work for fresh pasta. ---CB]

You can make a lovely risotto with toasted pasta. I like to use any tubeti or smooth penne. Once the pasta is browned, add stock a bit at a time until it's done. The addition of satueed mushrooms and onions is grand.

Roasting pasta! Brilliant! I will have to look for Bionaturae pasta; I've been using Tinkyada and like it, but it does taste different from semolina pasta, and it overcooks in a moment of inattention.

Also, Becky's risotto-with-roasted-pasta idea sounds so great.

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