Delicious in their simplicity but also endlessly customizable, this pairing of Mushroom Truffle Pasta and Easy Baked Spiced Chicken makes for a satisfying meal!
My first truffle recipe
A while back, I received a PR package from DyGen Food Ventures containing packages of bulgur and a bottle of Umbria Tartufi White Truffle Flavored Oil. This was my first bottle of truffle oil, and to say that I was excited to use it would be an understatement. (Naturally, I cooked the bulgur too, and the posts about that will come in due time.)
The first thing I wanted to make, without a doubt, was a basic Truffle Pasta. I immediately went in search of a good recipe.
Of course I’ve been eating truffle dishes since way before I received this bottle of liquid gold; I just never cooked any myself. I was always hesitant to buy truffle oil since I had no idea whatsoever which brand to buy. Truffle oils are usually on the expensive side, and I just didn’t want to waste any money buying “the wrong brand”– if you know what I mean. I’m not all that averse to buying slightly more expensive ingredients, but they have to be worth it. I’m sure many people understand this sentiment.
Anyway, getting a free bottle of truffle oil is obviously something I greatly appreciated and took advantage of. After using this brand, I have to honestly tell you it’s worth purchasing. It’s very good quality truffle oil! Unfortunately, it’s been sold out in DyGen’s Shopee store for some time now. It seems that I have to find myself alternatives. I have seen some reputable supermarket brands (ie. Mazza and Molinera) selling their truffle oils for more affordable prices, and I wonder if anybody reading this knows if they’re any good? Do let me know in the comments section!
This glorious pairing of Truffle Pasta & Spiced Chicken
Whenever I cook, I am nothing if not particular about my food pairings. You might’ve noticed that I also put a lot of thought into the drinks that I pair with the dessert recipes I try. I guess I just constantly try to think about how to make a food experience more “complete”. As in, if I were to personally eat something, how would I eat it or what would I enjoy it with? Since I don’t really develop my own recipes and am more of a “tester”, I like to mix and match or mash recipes into one– not necessarily to make it my own but to make it into a food experience that makes it just that bit more memorable for me.
In the case of pasta, I almost never eat it on its own unless it has a lot of protein or seafood incorporated into the pasta. (Must be the Asian in me that is so used to eating carbs with some sort of viand.) And so when I decided to make the Mushroom Truffle Pasta recipe from Kitchen Stories, I looked for a pairing that made sense to me. It had to be something that didn’t really take the spotlight away from the truffle pasta but could still be good on its own. And that’s how I landed on this baked chicken recipe from The Salty Marshmallow blog.
Frankly, both of these recipes are incredibly easy for the kind of payoff you get. If you plate it a little fancier you could pretend you were dining at a restaurant. Using good cheese and good truffle oil makes it almost impossible for this truffle pasta to not taste good. I would say these two are your “splurge ingredients”, because I honestly think you can get away with using all-purpose cream in place of heavy cream as long as your cheese and truffle are good quality. Heck, you can even use a mix of shiitake and canned button mushrooms for this recipe like I did. It will still 100% be good.
Now the chicken is pretty straightforward. It’s rubbed with spices and then baked– that’s it. All of the flavor will come from the spice rub so do your best to coat the chicken well. Rubbing the spices on the chicken meat (under the skin) will be crucial. This helps ensure that the flavor isn’t just on the outside. You also don’t want to over-bake so the chicken stays tender and juicy. Overall, this is just an uncomplicated and utterly yummy pairing.
My notes on this recipe
Cook pasta to al dente and save some pasta water.
One of the worst things for me is soggy pasta so I always try not to overcook my pasta. (Try and sometimes fail lol.) You could actually undercook your pasta by a minute versus the time indicated on the packaging, so that once it gets mixed with the hot cream sauce on the stovetop and inevitably continues to cook, it will turn out perfectly.
Also, don’t forget to save some pasta water before draining the pasta! In my experience, I’ve always needed this extra bit of liquid. If you accidentally discard all of the pasta water, you can get away with using milk to “loosen up” the pasta.
Use good truffle oil and good cheese.
When I say “good”, it doesn’t necessarily mean use the super expensive stuff. As I mentioned, I used the Umbria Tartufi White Truffle Flavored Oil that was gifted to me. If you can get hold of it, I highly recommend it as it’s very good quality. However it’s priced at Php 1,200++ for a 250mL bottle, and I understand this can feel heavy on the wallet for people who aren’t huge truffle fanatics, especially when there are supermarket brands available that are half the price.
To be clear, I am not about to sit here and demand that you turn your nose on supermarket brands. It’s just that I can’t make specific recommendations since I don’t know which brand is “the best” one since I haven’t tried any of them yet. I assume if you buy the truffle oil from reputable companies like Molinera or Mazza, it should be fine.
HOWEVER! Please do yourself a favor and do not use pre-shredded cheese or parmesan that comes in a bottle for this truffle pasta. At the very least, buy the cheese in blocks and shred them yourself. Even if they’re not DOP-labeled, at least avoid the pre-shredded cheeses with the weird additives that make them last forever in the fridge. The quality and flavor is just not the same.
Mix the truffle pasta well and taste-test before serving.
Most pasta recipes will tell you to adjust salt and pepper according to your preference, so make sure to taste the pasta before dishing it out. Before tasting the pasta and making any adjustments to the seasoning, make sure you have tossed the pasta in the sauce until everything is coated evenly.
Once you’re satisfied with the flavor, it’s still good practice to serve the pasta with some salt and pepper on the table because everyone likes their pasta differently. Also serve with extra freshly-shredded parmesan!
Properly rub the spice mix on the chicken.
You will be making a big amount of spice mix for this recipe. Use it all as the flavor of this chicken will come only from that spice mix. Divide the spice mix into 3 portions, one portion for the skin side, one portion for the bottom, and one portion for the meat under the skin. Basically, you want to make sure to rub the spice mix ALL OVER the chicken. It’s crucial to rub the spices on the meat under the skin as well so the flavors aren’t just on the outside. (Rub oil on the chicken first so the spice mix adheres!)
You can use a spice mix that you prefer, but I was pretty happy with the flavors of the original recipe. I did replace the onion powder with chili powder though, because I didn’t have onion powder and also wanted some heat on the chicken.
Do not over-bake chicken to keep it tender and juicy.
You will need 30 to 45 minutes of oven time depending on the thickness of your chicken. I cooked mine for about 40 minutes and it came out perfect. Super juicy and super flavorful! To be on the safe side, check your chicken at the 30-minute mark if you have thin portions. If you want a crisper or drier skin, flip the chicken one last time so it lies skin-side up, about 5 minutes before it’s done. Open the top heating feature or broil feature of your oven and let it cook the chicken skin.
It’s kind of easy to overcook chicken, but luckily chicken thighs are a lot more forgiving than chicken breasts. I feel like it’s hard to mess this up.
Mushroom Truffle Pasta with Easy Baked Spiced Chicken
For the chicken
- 3 to 4 pieces (about 700 grams) chicken thighs, off the bone but skin on
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder, (I subbed this with chili powder)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
For the pasta
- 100 mL heavy cream, can be doubled for a creamier pasta
- 100 grams melting cheese like colby, gouda, or cheddar, can be doubled for a creamier pasta
- 250 grams tagliatelle or fettuccine pasta
- 150 grams mushrooms of choice, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons good-quality truffle oil, more or less to taste
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- Olive oil, for frying
- Parmesan cheese, for serving
Make the chicken
- Preheat oven to 400°F (205°C). Line a large baking sheet with foil. (This will help cleaning up more easily.)
- In a small bowl, mix together the spices until well-combined. This will be your seasoning.
- Pat dry chicken thighs very thoroughly with paper towels on both sides, then arrange on top of the foil inside the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and rub all over the chicken to coat.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the spices on the top part of the chicken and rub all over to coat. Lift up the chicken skin and rub another 1/3 of the seasoning onto the meat underneath. This will give the chicken more flavor. Turn the chicken over and rub the last 1/3 of the seasoning to the underside of the chicken. Return skin-side up.
- Bake chicken in preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken. (If making the pasta, now would be a good time to start it.) Flip the chicken about 15 minutes in, then flip again 5 minutes before they are done to brown the skin a bit more, if desired. Use a fork to check if the chicken is done, or use a thermometer to check if chicken has reached internal temperature of 165°F (75°C).
- Remove from oven right away so chicken does not get overcooked or dry. Rest for a bit then use scissors to cut into strips. (Or keep them whole, as desired.)
Make the pasta
- In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside for a moment, reserving about ½ cup of the pasta water.
- In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium-low heat. Once it begins to boil, add the cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a frying pan, heat up oil, then add in the mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes until they release some juices, then add in the cream sauce. Bring to a boil then add in the cooked pasta. Toss to coat, adding some pasta water as needed if it seems a bit dry.
- Remove from heat and drizzle in the truffle oil. Toss again to distribute the truffle flavor. Give it a taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
- Transfer to serving plate, then grate some Parmesan cheese on top. You may serve the pasta with more parmesan, plus some salt and pepper on the side. Serve together with the baked chicken and enjoy right away!
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