Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fusion for Two

I find it amusing that tomorrow, we will either celebrate Valentine's Day or Chinese New Year. One is typically an intimate dinner for two and the other, a lauriat for a group. To get the best of both worlds, the eve is reserved for the romantic in me. And tomorrow, will be reserved for the gourmand in me. Not a bad deal at all.

I checked my fridge and pantry and whipped up this pasta dinner I consider a japanese-italian fusion. Wierd? Unique? But I guarantee is yummy. And absolutely simple to do.

I found a pack of enoki mushrooms,also called golden needle mushrooms. They have tiny, tiny white, shiney caps and best for me when fresh. I usually see this in Japanese restaurants wrapped in bacon or beef bacon and pan fried. Another time I had it, it was simply cooked in little butter and served as a side dish with small japanese grilled meats.

Instead of being eaten as an appetizer, I figured if it is wrapped in bacon-- it can certainly go well with a cream-base sauce for pasta, like carbonnara or al fredo. The bacon, ties the fusion concept neatly together! I served it with crispy ciabatta slathered with garlic, basil and oil. Accompanied with chardonnay-- my husband enjoyed our simple yet satisfying dinner for two.

Enoki Wrap:

  • 1 pack of enoki mushrooms, cut off the roots and wash thoroughly. Drain and divide into 10-12 batches
  • About 5-6 strips of bacon, sliced in half, yielding 10-12 shorter strips

Pasta with Cream Sauce:

  • 2 cups of cooked pasta, spaghetti or fettucini
  • 1 T of butter
  • 6 T all-purpose cream
  • 1/3 c parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 T extra parmesan cheese on the side
  • freshly ground pepper
  • optional: thin ribbons of 2 basil leaves (chiffonade)

Cut your enoki mushrooms to a length of 2 inches. If you got a long one, cut the stalk in half and combine to make a thicker bunch. Simply wrap this with bacon and set aside, seam side down. You may secure with toothpicks.
Heat your pan or grill pan, then place the wraps, seam side down. Bacon shrinks and so as this cooks , it begins to tighly wrap the enoki mushrooms. You may also choose to bake especially when cooking a big batch for plenty guests. Set aside when thoroughly cooked.

In another pan, heat butter with all-purpose cream until it melts but not bubbling. Add the pasta and gingerly mix. Sprinkle 1/3 c of parmesan to evenly coat the pasta as you toss it. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and ribbons of basil. Split servings on 2 plates, give a final sprinkle of cheese and arrange the enoki wraps on top.

I enjoy different textures when eating, so a crusty bread for me, completes the experience.

Garlic Basil Olive Oil Bath:

  • Pound about 5-6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped in a mortar and pestl
  • Add about 6-8 leaves of basil cut into small ribbons (chiffonade)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/4 -1/3 c olive oil

Slather this mixture on crusty bread like french bread or ciabatta. Grill on high heat until crunchy.

Who says you have to go out in a fancy restaurant, get upset with the traffic and the crowd? When you can enjoy dinner and wine at home. Have great conversation, kiss every now and then, dance the slow dance without music. And cap it with an indulgent Royce's chocolate.

Happy Valentine!


  1. OMG! this looks so gooooooood! and i hope is easy to make. :)

  2. It's easy, promise :-) We had it for dinner last night. Let me know how it turns out!