(Makes 4 appetizers – Recipe courtesy of Chef John Newman, Newmans at 988)
John Newman was arguably the busiest—and most colorful—chef of the 2016 Oregon Truffle Festival in Eugene. John does not look like your typical white-tablecloth restaurateur. A man of medium height with a long drape of sandy blonde hair, John arrived at the festival that year sporting a tie-dye shirt, Chuck Taylor high tops, and a beaver coat. “Ah, now there’s a true representative of the Beaver State!” I thought. Everyone loved John’s eclectic attire and flamboyant attitude, both of which added to his dishes’ charm.
John cooked Friday at the festival’s kick-off party, Saturday at a winery luncheon, and put on a mouthwatering cooking demonstration on Sunday. I was extremely fortunate to taste all his creations over the three days, but this dish, which he showcased during his cooking demo, left me slack-jawed. As soon as John spooned the pasta onto my plate, I sought a spot with better lighting, so I could snap a photo. Luckily, there was nobody around. His pasta was so incredibly savory, I literally licked my plate clean. There’s no way I would have done that in public view. But in this quiet, empty corner, I had no shame.
At a glance, the dish looks so unassuming—just a few ingredients simply prepared—yet it’s so utterly luxurious. John’s secret is the foie gras and Oregon black truffles. If you can get your hands on these two ingredients (and remember, though they are pricey, you don’t need a lot), I implore you to try this dish. Nothing transforms pasta in cream sauce into decadent bliss quite like John’s recipe.
2 ounces shallots, chopped
2 cups marsala wine
6 ounces cream
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Sea salt, to taste
Pepper, freshly ground, to taste
8 ounces pasta of your choice, cooked (John used torchio pasta—always fun)
4 ounces fresh, grade ‘A’ foie gras (foie gras in America is always of duck, and it is often sold in 2-ounce slices—so use 2 slices for this recipe)
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
4 grams Oregon black truffles, shaved
In a medium saucepan, combine shallots and marsala. Reduce to approximately 4 ounces of liquid. Add cream and reduce by half. Finish with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
While the sauce is reducing, cook the pasta according to package directions and heat a small, dry skillet over high heat. Season the top of the foie gras with salt and pepper, then pan sear seasoned side down first. Flip after 30 seconds to a minute (or as soon as deep caramel crust is formed) and then sear the other side another 30 seconds or so. Remove to a warmed plate lined with paper towels to drain, then slice into ½-inch cubes.
Add cooked pasta and fresh parsley to the marsala cream sauce and toss. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Add shaved truffles and seared foie gras to the pasta, toss again, serve and enjoy!