Cavatelli Pasta with Mushrooms, Kale & Soft Boiled Eggs
When I first tried this cavatelli pasta recipe from Blue Apron, I was not so sure about the soft boiled eggs. I love them with toast points for breakfast but on top of my pasta?
I’m seeing soft boiled eggs adorn more and more recipes these days so I’m not sure if it’s a trend or something that’s been done for years in Italy and now becoming popular in the USA.
This dish not only tastes great with the mushrooms cooking in browned butter, then combined with kale, seasoned with thyme and finished with grated pecorino cheese but looks smashing especially with an egg on top.
Cavatelli Pasta (kava’tell-e)
A type of pasta coming from the Italian word for “little hollows” that looks like miniature hot dog buns. Cavatelli is not always easy to find especially if you don’t have an Italian specialty food market near by.
You can try your hand and make it at home. I found this great recipe and short clip on the Wall Street Journal website showing you the technique for making it yourself. Basic pasta dough that gets rolled into thin tubes that are cut into lengths the size of your thumbnail.
These pieces are smushed with your thumb in such a way they form miniature hot dog rolls. The clip shows you exactly how it is done. If you can’t find cavatelli, substitute orecchiette or penne.
Again I had to do a little research to learn about Lacinato kale, also known as black kale and important in Italian cooking especially from the Tuscan region. It is the kale of choice when making traditional minestrone soup.
I find it funny that kale has been the “in” ingredient since the summer. Seems everything you read or cook has some form of kale in it but Lacinato kale has been a favorite in Italy for centuries.
If you can’t find Lacinato kale in your market, substitute whatever you can find, most likely curly kale. Someone saw the photo above and thought it was spinach and I think spinach would be another good substitute in this dish and will try it in the future.
Cavatelli Pasta with Mushrooms – Kale – Soft Boiled Eggs
- Prep the Ingredients
- Heat up a large pot of water with a couple of teaspoons of salt added to cook the pasta in. Also heat up a saucepan big enough to hold 4 eggs with lightly salted water.
- While the water is heating up in each pan, chop the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces.
- Trim the the kale by removing the center stems and thinly slicing the leaves.
- Now for the fun job….pluck the leaves from the stems of the bunch of thyme. Toss the stems.
Soft Boil the Eggs
- When the saucepan of water comes to a boil, gently add themes with a slotted spoon to the water. The recipe says to cook for 6 minutes which I did but found the eggs to be a little overcooked. I would suggest trying 5½ minutes and see how you do.
- When the eggs are done, drain the pan and quickly since under cold water for 1 minute. This helps stop the cooking process and gets them cool enough to handle so you can peel them.
- When all peeled, transfer the eggs to a bowl and keep warm. Be very careful not to break the eggs.
Mushrooms and Brown Butter
- Heat a large fry pan over medium heat until hot. Add the oil and when hot, add the mushrooms. Sauté the mushrooms for 8 - 10 minutes until they release their water, soften and start to brown.
- Add the butter and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the butter foams and subsides. Keep cooking the mushrooms in the butter, swirling the pan now and again to keep the butter from burning.
- Continue cooking for 3 - 4 minutes until the butter turns a deep golden brown and has a nutty fragrance.BE CAREFUL not to burn the butter. It can happen quickly so keep everything moving.
Cook the Cavatelli
- While the mushrooms are cooking, add the pasta to the large pot of boiling water. Give it a stir to keep it from sticking. Cook for 14 minutes or just before al dente.Normally I would recommend cooking the pasta to al dente, firm to the tooth, but since you are will be finishing the pasta with the mushrooms, you need the pasta a little firmer.
- Note - if you are using fresh cavatelli, the cooking times change. Fresh pasta takes much less time to cook than dried.
- When the pasta is ready, remove 1 cup of the pasta water and reserve. You will use this water to help make the pasta sauce. Drain the pasta and reserve.
Finish the Dish
- Back to the pan with the mushrooms and browned butter, add the kale and fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper. Give the ingredients a stir and continue cooking for 4 - 5 minutes until the kale wilts.
- Add the pasta along with half the reserved pasta water, stir, taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Continue cooking and stirring for a few minutes until all the pasta is coated with sauce. If the sauce appears to be dry, add some more of the reserved pasta water. Taste again and adjust seasoning.
- Remove the pan from heat and get ready to plate.
Plate the Cavatelli with Mushrooms
- Dish pasta and sauce between 4 plates or bowls. If you have extra, save it for seconds or one of the kid’s school lunches.
- Carefully place the soft boiled eggs on each plate and finish with some grated cheese on top.