Union Square Cafe’s chef Carmen Quagliata makes his inspired version of spaghetti and meatballs with whole-wheat pasta, corn cream, corn kernels and chanterelles. Wine director Jason Wagner finds Montebruno’s vibrant Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is the perfect foil for the earthiness of the dish.
Slideshow: Spaghetti Recipes
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups corn kernels (from 6 ears)
Kosher salt and pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced sage
1 teaspoon minced thyme
1/4 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons plain dry breadcrumbs
12 ounces ground pork
1 tablespoon minced parsley
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Pinch of ground allspice
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
6 ounces chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and cut into large pieces
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound whole-wheat spaghettini
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Stir in 2 cups of the corn and season with salt and pepper. Add 2/3 cup of water and bring to a simmer; remove from the heat. Transfer the corn and water to a blender and puree until smooth. Strain the corn cream through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing on the solids; discard the solids.
In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add 1/2 teaspoon each of the sage and thyme and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, 30 seconds. Scrape the oil into a bowl and stir in the milk and breadcrumbs. Add the pork, parsley, garlic, coriander, allspice, 2 tablespoons of the grated cheese, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and mix well. Form the mixture into 12 meatballs and transfer to a plate.
In a nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the meatballs and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add 4 tablespoons of the butter and the mushrooms to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, add the mushrooms to the meatballs.
Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of corn kernels to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the shallots and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon each of sage and thyme, reduce the heat to moderate and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook until the broth is reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
Add the meatballs and mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened and the meatballs are cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and keep warm.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Return the pasta and pasta water to the pot. Add the corn mixture, corn cream and the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and 6 tablespoons of cheese and cook, tossing, until the pasta is coated with a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the meatballs, garnish with more cheese and serve at once.
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