Pennette with Mushroom Cream Sauce and New York Strip

Though I am never one to pass up an evening on the town, at-home dates are often some of my favorites.

Pennette with Mushroom Cream Sauce and New York Strip {Pedantic Foodie}

If you and your sweetheart have no yet decided upon your plans for this love-filled (or should I say, chocolate-filled) weekend, allow me to suggest a date at home.  Reservations are not required, crowds are evaded, and attire is left entirely to your discretion - though I would still highly suggest making an effort to look at least moderately gorgeous for your better half.  

Pennette with Mushroom Cream Sauce and New York Strip {Pedantic Foodie}

An at-home date is a chance to serve the person you love in a way that a busy chef or overwhelmed waiter simply cannot.  So light some candles, iron the cloth napkins, and treat your Valentine to an elegant dinner at home.

Pennette with Mushroom Cream Sauce and New York Strip {Pedantic Foodie}

This dish is one of those secret weapon recipes that I pull out frequently.  It is the perfect meal in my mind because, it is pretty all-inclusive, meaning that it only takes a simple salad (I’d totally freeze my legs off and defrost the grill to make this Grilled Romaine Salad) to make this a full dinner.  It is rich, elegant, creamy, and the best part?  This entire dish comes together in thirty minutes, including prep time, which means you are not scurrying in and out of the kitchen all evening.  Total win.

It is also stupidly simple, so if you are not entirely comfortable in the kitchen, this is an excellent choice for you.   

Pennette with Mushroom Cream Sauce and New York Strip {Pedantic Foodie}

Gentlemen, I am looking at you.  If you make your lady a bowl of indulgent, cream-covered pasta, she will not only be highly impressed, she will love you forever.  Unless she’s a vegan in which case… Well, you should probably be reading a different blog.

Pennette with Mushroom Cream Sauce and New York Strip {Pedantic Foodie}

This recipe has few ingredients so it is essential that they be quality.  Purchase a really good New York Strip with even marbling and prepare it simple.  A truly good cut of meat needs little adornment.  I like to go with a liberal sprinkling of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Pennette with Mushroom Cream Sauce and New York Strip {Pedantic Foodie}

I should mention that I chose to make this sauce with red wine because I was pairing it with steak, but you can certainly use white wine if you would like to use a sautéed chicken breast instead.  I have done both and one does not prevail above the other.  It just depends on your mood.

Pennette with Mushroom Cream Sauce and New York Strip {Pedantic Foodie}

Regardless of your wine choice, the aroma of this dish is just sensational.  I fall in love all over again every time I make it.  

Let's be honest, pasta was my first Valentine.   

Pennette with Mushroom Cream Sauce and New York Strip {Pedantic Foodie}

Dinner is served.  Now, if you happen to have some of this Chocolate Salami in your freezer right now for dessert, your work is done. 

Pennette with Mushroom Cream Sauce and New York Strip {Pedantic Foodie}

Light the candles, freshen your perfume or cologne and go find your date.  Happy Valentine’s Day!


Pedantic Foodie

Pennette with Mushroom Cream Sauce & New York Strip

serves 2, with leftovers / recipe adapted from “Pasta” by Eric Treiulle & Anna De Conte

for the steak

- 2 tablespoons olive oil

- 1 New York Strip steak (about 3/4 lb) 

- kosher salt 

- freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour olive oil into a medium skillet and place over medium-high heat.  

Use a paper towel to pat the steak dry, as this will help it to brown properly.  Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. 

When the oil in the skillet begins to shimmer, add steak.  It should immediately begin to sizzle.  If you cannot hear it, the oil is not hot enough.  Cook for 5 minutes, until seared and deep brown, and then flip and sear for an additional 5 minutes on the opposite side.  

Remove the pan from the heat and place in the oven for 6-8 minutes, depending on your preference.  

Cook’s note:  In my mind, 6 minutes should be just about perfect (medium rare), but my fiancé prefers medium well, so I typically go for 8 minutes.  This will of course change depending on the thickness of your steak, so just keep an eye on it and use a meat thermometer, if necessary. 

Allow the steak to rest for 7-10 minutes.  If the steak has released any juices in the pan, reserve for later use.  While the steak is resting, prepare the pasta.  

for the pasta

- 1/2 lb dried pennette*

- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

- 1 tablespoon olive oil 

- 1 clove garlic, minced 

- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced into 1/8 slices 

- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

- 1/4 cup dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot 

- 1/2 cup heavy cream 

- finely grated parmesan, for finishing 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; season the water liberally with kosher salt.  Add pasta and cook according to the producer’s instructions, or until al dente.  While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. 

Place a deep-sided saucepan over medium heat and melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  When the butter has melted, add olive oil.  When the mixture begins to bubble, add garlic, mushrooms, and kosher salt.  Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the mushrooms have just begun to brown.  

Add wine and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until evaporated, and then add heavy cream.  Simmer for 2 minutes, or until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and add 2 tablespoons of parmesan and reserved steak juices.  

Add drained pasta directly to the sauce and return to heat to simmer for an additional minute. 

Cut the rested steak on the bias, forming 1/4-inch slices.  Toss the sliced steak into the pasta.  

Serve immediately with a sprinkling of grated parmesan.  Enjoy! 

*If you are unable to find pennette pasta, penne will substitute nicely. 

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Chocolate Salami from Olympic Provisions

Have you ordered your Valentines?  Is your house covered in pink construction paper hearts?  I hope so. 

Chocolate Salami from Olympic Provisions {Pedantic Foodie}

Valentine’s Day is February’s gift to us.  It’s our excuse to cheer ourselves up with chocolate and pretty flowers as we trudge through the grey, rainy days of winter. 

Maybe chocolate salami does not scream romance to you, but allow me to share my logic.  Men like robust, cured meats and ladies like chocolate; those two come together and make chocolate salami.  Still weird?  Just bear with me.

When this beautiful, canvas-bound book arrived in the mail I immediately dove into Elias Cairo's story and fell in love.  Witty, charming, and surprisingly humorous, this book does not take itself too seriously, even if it does talk about food safety and, you know, processing meat.

Chocolate Salami from Olympic Provisions {Pedantic Foodie}

It's chocked full of solid, inspiring recipes, and will have you making your own pate and sausage in no time, but it’s never a bad idea to begin with dessert.

Chocolate Salami from Olympic Provisions {Pedantic Foodie}

I should preface this recipe by saying that yes, it does have egg yolks, and no, it does not come into contact with the stove.  However, the yolks will eventually be muddled with hot, melted chocolate which will make them just as safe for consumption as a poached egg.  

Chocolate Salami from Olympic Provisions {Pedantic Foodie}

Just take a moment to appreciate this with me.  Meat mongers dreamed up a dessert where rich, wine-scented, spiced chocolate meets toasted nuts, ginger, and oh yes, crushed potato chips.  You cannot go wrong here. 

Ben and Jerry are likely already working on turning this into an ice cream flavor. 

I would not boast that this creation has a “best part,” but one of my favorite parts is the fact that as it goes under the guise of “salami,” we can easily serve it as an appetizer.  That means we can sneakily have two courses of chocolate rather than one.  

And, because the chocolate flavor is tempered by the additions of salty nuts and rich wine, this can truly pass as a savory offering.  

The salami can be made a couple days in advance and stowed away in the freezer to save you a bit of prep time on the special day.  Just be sure to pull it out about twenty minutes before you intend on serving it, so that it is sliceable.

Chocolate Salami from Olympic Provisions {Pedantic Foodie}

I know, this is not red velvet, or pink, or anything like the numerous cutesy treats that are currently dominating your Pinterest feed, but it is truly superb, and something I believe your sweetheart will find surprising and delightful.

Chocolate Salami from Olympic Provisions {Pedantic Foodie}

Let's treat our sweethearts to something new this year.  


Pedantic Foodie

This post was in partnership with Blogging for Books.  As always, all opinions are my own.  

Chocolate Salami

makes three, 10-inch logs / adapted slightly from Olympic Provisions

  • 1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds 
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts 
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds 
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, 70%
  • 4 egg yolks 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest 
  • 1/2 cup red wine, such as Merlot or Cabernet 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon round nutmeg 
  • 1/2 cup candied ginger, diced finely 
  • 1/2 cup thick potato chips, crushed finely
  • confectioner’s sugar 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare an 8x8 baking pan by greasing it with nonstick spray.

Line a baking sheet with parchment and arrange the nuts and pumpkin seeds in a single, even layer on the sheet.  Bake until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 12 minutes.  Set aside. 

Combine chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave at thirty second increments, stirring after each, until melted.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and brown sugar thoroughly until the yolks have thickened slightly and the mixture looks uniform.  Whisk in cocoa powder, orange zest, wine, and spices.  

Fold in melted chocolate and whisk quickly, so that the chocolate does not cause the eggs to separate.  Add toasted nuts, candied ginger, and potato chips and fold together until the mixture is well combined. 

Fold the mixture into the prepared baking sheet and use a spatula to spread it out evenly.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30 minutes, until firm.  

Cut the firmed chocolate mixture into three equal pieces.  Dust a work surface lightly with confectioner’s sugar and roll each piece into a 10-inch log.  Wrap the logs in parchment paper and freeze for five minutes before serving, or until ready to use.  Slice at an angle, into 1/4-inch slices.  Enjoy!

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