Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fusilli Pasta with Burrata Cheese, Spinach, Lemon, and Toasted Almonds

This was a very spontaneous dish. Dave and I had popped into Balducci's for a few things (very few, or else I'm not allowed to go very often!) and I happened to see that they had some burrata in the cheese case. I'd never had it before and I've always wanted to try. Was it last Summer or Fall that it was all the craze?

Well, burrata in hand, we looked up what to make with it and got cracking. With the new laptop, it was really awesome to have it open to the recipe in the kitchen. Ah, technology.

Now, I'm keeping an open mind, but I didn't love the burrata. This won't make any sense to you, but I don't really like cheese as a whole. It's the smell. I like some cheeses in things, and I like fresh mozzarella in a Caprese salad, and I adore pizza and the like... but I have to wash my hands after I grate Parmesan because I don't like the way my hands smell (not that I wouldn't wash them anyway, of course!) So, less-stinky cheeses are cool, more stinky, not so much. I really wanted to like the burrata because I love fresh mozz... the burrata was stinky in a way I couldn't make friends with. The creamy texture was really great, I'll admit that... but I also picked around any clumps I couldn't just mix in. O well. At least it looked pretty.

Now, the REST of it I liked. The perfectly cooked pasta, tossed in the lemonybutterygarlicy goodness, tossed with the toasted almonds and spinach... dreamy.

Campanelle Pasta with Burrata Cheese, Spinach, Lemon, and Toasted Almonds
c/o Bon Appetit Magazine, December 2004

Burrata is a luscious Italian cheese made by mixing cream and unspun mozzarella curds together (for a texture similar to ricotta): the mixture is then inserted into the center of a ball of fresh mozzarella. It can be found in some supermarkets, at specialty foods shops, and at Italian markets. Substitute fresh mozzarella if you can't find burrata.

1 pound campanelle (trumpet-shaped pasta) or fusilli (spiral-shaped pasta)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 6-ounce package baby spinach (about 4 cups)
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1 pound burrata cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add lemon juice and lemon peel. Drain pasta; transfer to large bowl. Place spinach and almonds atop hot pasta. Pour hot lemon mixture over spinach. Toss until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Divide pasta among plates. Top with burrata cheese, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.


JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Hmmmm... I have never had burrata before. I myself am a fan of stink-a-licious cheese, so I might actually like it - especially if it is really creamy - which it must be since from the picture I tought it was yogurt!

Sorry you didn't like it, but at least now you know, you know? ;)

Cheryl said...

All those flavors in there, wow, that looks so good. It definitely beats the lunch I am having today.

michelle @ TNS said...

it makes me sad that you didn't like the burrata! i'm not a cheeseaholic, but burrata is a wonderful, wonderful thing...for me.

maybe you should try again, just to make sure.

Katie B. said...

Jenn - Sounds like you'd love burrata! Creamy AND smelly! :)

Cheryl - Aw! Thanks!!

Michelle - You're totally right - I'll have to keep an eye out for more... I'd hate to write it off after just one experience!

Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Katie - you might want to try it again - burrata shouldn't stink at all but should be very fresh smelling...Good pairing of sauce to keep it light!

Melpy said...

They were serving *Campanelle with
Burrata, spinach, lemon and
moroccan almonds at one of our favorite restaurants this weekend. I wonder if this recipe was their inspiration?