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Beef Tenderloin over Calamarata Pasta with Porcini Mushroom Sauce Recipe

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I like to fancy myself a housewife version of the Iron Chef, where Kitchen Stadium more closely resembles an obstacle course with the biggest risks involving slipping on a stray lego thus losing valuable preparation minutes or accidentally losing a finger due to an imposing plastic tarantula’s presence scaring the life right out of you.  As a result, I couldn’t have been more thrilled when MarxFood.com [2] offered to send me fine dried pasta and some other key ingredients, in exchange for an original recipe featuring said ingredients created by me.  (Incidentally, MarxFoods have a contest to win 8 oz. of Black Truffle Butter [3] running through the 15th.  You can enter here [3]!)  So I’ve been anxiously awaiting my package and getting ready to prepare my recipe.  The package contained Calamarata Pasta, Dried Porcini Mushrooms, Black Truffle Salt, and Fennel Pollen.  I had to use at least the pasta and one other ingredient in my creation.

So this one goes out to Mr. Antione.  And my absurd love of rap music.  What?  Who?

First things first.  Mr. Antoine was my 9th grade biology teacher.  He did an entire 6 weeks in the spring on edible plants.  (And 6 weeks in the fall on *in*edible, if memory serves.)   Legendary.  At the time I thought it was all a little bit insane – the plant identification lab, hiking through the field behind RHS in search of edible bits, cooking in class, staying after school to work on extra identification practices with friends…  Hell, now I’m irritated.  Why can’t we go to 9th grade when we’re 30?  That sounds like fun now.  Sadly, Mr. Antione passed away a few years back.  I have no idea what the current 9th graders are studying back at RHS.  I’m fairly certain they’re missing out on the morel mushrooms sauteed in tons of butter lesson.  Rest in peace, Mr. Antione, I feel certain you would have loved this recipe.

And to the rappers, well, I owe you cognac.  Sure, I don’t think think I could possibly consume a glass of it, but I’m glad *you* can.  And I love to cook with cognac.  Even more, I just love to say Courvoisier in my rapper voice.  I thought about linking to the youtube video of the song in question, but my parents read this website.  And on the off chance that one of them might accidentally click on that link, I’m fairly certain I’d be grounded.  Or censured.  Or both.  Either way, this article [4] sums up pretty well how the hip hop music culture has embraced Cognac and greatly expanded its demand.  I think subliminally, rappers have led me to owning 3 different brands of cognac in my liquor cabinet.

The photographed servings were enormous, so I’m editing the recipe a tad to a more reasonable amount.  I promise it will taste better if you prepare while listening to a hip hop station on Pandora.  Or if you need me to, I can still make you a mix cd.  Just ask my sister, Allison.  And if you’re just not into all that, throw on some Michael Bublé, grab a big glass of red wine and own your evening.

Beef Tenderloin over Calamarata Pasta with Porcini Mushroom Sauce

serves 4

.75 oz dried Porcini mushrooms

1 and 1/2 c. boiling water

3 tbsp butter

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 c. Courvoisier (or cognac of your choice)

2 approx 8oz beef tenderloin filets

kosher salt

fresh ground pepper

olive oil

2/3 c. sour cream

1 and 1/2 c. heavy cream

8 oz dried Calamarata Pasta

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp Black Truffle Salt

Add dried mushrooms to boiling water and let soak for 45 minutes.  Drain, rinse, soak another 5 in boiling water.  Drain, then pat dry with towels to reduce excess moisture.

Melt butter in a saute pan.  Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic to pan, then cook 3 minutes over medium heat.  Add Courvoisier and let continue to cook.  Start you fillets, but be prepared to come back to your sauce when your fillets hit the oven.

Preheat an oven to 450.  Generously season fillets with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Heat a stainless saute pan over medium high heat for about 2 minutes.  Add olive oil, swirl, then quickly add fillets.  Brown on all sides, about 6 minutes in total depending on your thickness.  Then move to oven, cook to an internal temperature or 138 in the thickest part.  Start checking temp after 6 more minutes. Set a timer, you’re going to be busy.  When fillets hit the proper temp, move to a cutting board to rest.

To the mushroom sauce, add sour cream and cream.   Cook over medium high heat, stirring every two minutes with a spatula.  Do not stress about this, you want to cook and then cook it some more.  If it looks bubbly and like it’s cooking onto the pan, good.  Stir gently and cook some more.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil – at least 6 cups.  Add 2 teaspoons kosher salt once boiling.  Stir, add pasta, then boil for about 16 minutes then check the tenderness by taste.

As the mushroom sauce begins to develop a dark color and a thick texture, add the lemon juice and the truffle salt.  Stir, then continue cooking over medium.  You want the sauce to continue bubbling.

Drain the pasta when ready, then fold into the mushroom sauce.  On your cutting board, slice fillets into strips, then top a pasta serving with tenderloin in a fan pattern.  Top with a gentle sprinkling of chives.  Cheers.  And Pass the Courvoisier.