Home for the Holidays 2003

See Also

The Chef
Tom Valenti of Ouest and ’Cesca

Serves 4.

1 pound linguine (preferably De Cecco)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 stick butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
2 to 3 ounces fresh black truffles, coarsely grated, sliced, or julienned (if the ruffles aren’t fresh, boost them with 1 to 2 tablespoons white-truffle oil)

Escarole Salad:
1 baguette, quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into croutons
6 tablespoons fruity extra-virgin olive oil plus extra for brushing croutons
1 garlic clove
3 to 4 heads escarole, with 1/3 of the outer green leaves removed and discarded, inner leaves separated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano

Cooking Instructions
Cook the linguine al dente in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, heat the oil over low heat in a large sauté pan, add the garlic, and cook gently until soft but not colored. Remove from the heat, and toss with the butter to melt. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the pasta with the garlic in the sauté pan along with 1/4 cup of pasta water, then toss with the grated cheese, the black truffles and truffle oil (if using), and more pasta water if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Paint the croutons with oil and rub with garlic, place on a cookie sheet, and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until crisp and starting to turn golden. 

Put the escarole in a salad bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the oil, and toss together until all the leaves are coated, then toss with the cheese and finally the croutons.

Recommended Wines
White Burgundy, such as Bernard Morey Chassagne Montrachet Vielles Vignes.

Best With
Smoked-sturgeon roll-ups filled with caviar and crème fraîche; Fettuccine or linguine with black truffles; Escarole salad with croutons; Wedge of Gorgonzola and ripe pears.

Photograph by William Meppem