Fancy Up Your Pasta + Benissimo Gourmet Oil Giveaway! [ENDED]
I love a good pasta. No matter it's form, it's pretty high up there on the comfort food scale. Add some capers and herb oil to coat all of the noodles? I'm a happy lady. And let's face it, sometimes you need a pause button during all of the holiday hub-bub. I like to take my breaks in Italy, thank you very much.
I'm also thrilled to be partnering with the fine people of Benissimo Gourmet Oils from Hongar Farms, to give you this delicious recipe and a chance at winning a bottle for yourself!
With any product, I wouldn't share it with you if I didn't thoroughly love it myself. Scouts honor. This oil is easy to stand behind being 100% natural and full of flavor. I've used this on pastas, roasting potatoes, breads ... the savory possibilities are endless!
Here's a closeup of the bottle I received. This flavor is Mediterranean Garlic Olive Oil with delicious tid-bits of herbs and garlic. My favorite thing about this oil is that you can see all the pretty ingredients. It's like their motto says, "Tastes As Good As It Looks".
Here are the ingredients to fancy up your pasta: spaghetti, dried shiitake mushrooms, capers, herb oil, thyme sprigs, fresh parsley, extra sharp cheddar cheese, butter, salt, black pepper and a pinch of chili flakes.
Some of these components might seem weird to put together. If you take out the name of the specific type of ingredient, the combination wont sound odd. So in this case, shiitake is Asian ... but it's a mushroom ... which is amazing with pasta.
Now, why use dried mushrooms? Because you can store them in your pantry for quite a bit of time, they are meatier when re-hydrated, and they don't make a huge dent in the wallet. These need to soak for about 20 minutes in room temp water. Put something heavy on them so they submerge completely.
Even though the oil has a lot of delicious herb flavor, I like to pair it with some fresh herbs too just to round it out. The oil, butter and herbs are really what makes the sauce. If you're going the vegan route, Earth Balance would work too.
Chop up the parsley and strip the leaves off of the thyme sprigs.
When your mushrooms are plumped up, wring the excess water out of them, and chop them up. Cutting them into strips like this helps to get a piece in every bite.
Get your water to a boil to cook the pasta. I'm using about a Tablespoon in four quarts of water.
When your water is boiling, toss your dried pasta in and cook till al dente. We're going to be putting the pasta directly into the sauce we're making, so try to time it so you don't have to leave the noodles cooked in the water for a long period of time.
Melt about a Tablespoon of butter into a medium sized pot on medium heat.
Brown the mushrooms, a few minutes on each side.
Toss in the thyme and capers. If it's getting too dry, add a splash of the herb oil. Cook for a couple minutes.
Turn off the heat and immediately add the second Tablespoon of butter.
Everything should be coated butter with some extra melted in the pan.
Throw in your cooked pasta directly into the medium pot. You're doing this instead of draining it so that you catch some of that nice starchy pasta water, which will help with a little creaminess.
Stir everything around and add about two ladles of pasta water.
Now drizzle the herb oil all over everything and stir. To make sure you get all the good bits of the oil, make sure you shake the bottle first before drizzling in.
Add most of the chopped parsley, pepper and a pinch of chili flakes.
After everything is stirred, taste if more salt is needed. Make sure to try it with a caper, because they will have some briny saltiness on their own.
Like I was saying before, extra sharp cheddar cheese might make you scratch your head for pasta ... but I have this cheese more often than parmesan and heck, it works because it's pungent and I only use a little bit to top it off. Serve with the rest of the chopped parsley.
I mean, look at that bite. You can see how the herb oil lovingly coats all the noodles. When you're eating this, close your eyes and imagine the sun on your face, sipping your favorite wine, enjoying good company in an olive field. I'll meet you there.
Now for the Benissimo Gourmet Oil giveaway! There are three ways to enter the raffle below. Do all three and you get three entries. The raffle starts today and ends Sunday, December 28th at 12:00 AM PST.
No purchase of any kind is necessary. This is for U.S. residents only, 18 or older. The winner will be chosen at random, and contacted through email up to 48 hours after the giveaway is over. The bottle of Bennissimo Gourmet Oil is sponsored from Hongar Farms.
Make sure to check out Hongar Farms for more delicious recipes and to see all the flavors they offer. Good luck and happy holidays!
Spaghetti Noodles with Mushrooms and Herb Oil | About 4 - 6 servings
16 oz. Spaghetti
1 oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
3 Tablespoons capers, drained
4-5 Tablespoons Benissimo Mediterranean Garlic Olive Oil
5-8 Thyme sprigs
5-8 Parsley sprigs
⅓ cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon salt (for pasta water)
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon of chili flakes
- Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water, putting a heavy bowl on top to keep them submerged. After 30 minutes, drain the mushrooms and gently squeeze out excess water.
- Roughly slice the mushrooms into pieces.
- Chop the parsley and strip the leaves off of the thyme sprigs.
- Bring about 4 quarts of water and a Tablespoon of salt to a boil. Cook the pasta in the boiling water for about 9 minutes or until al dente.
- At the same time, brown the mushrooms in a large pan on medium heat, with one Tablespoon of butter.
- Add the capers and thyme leaves. If it’s looking a little dry, add a splash of the Benissimo Mediterranean Garlic Olive Oil. Stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat but leave the pan on the stovetop, and add another Tablespoon of butter stirring until melted.
- Add all the pasta straight from the pot of water to the pan of mushrooms.
- Ladle in the pasta water about two or three times. Add about 4 Tablespoons of Benissimo Mediterranean Garlic Olive Oil, black pepper, chili flakes and chopped parsley. Stir the pasta until all the noodles are coated.
- Serve hot with some extra sharp cheddar cheese and parsley.