Wednesday, October 29, 2008
On Saucing Pasta
When you've got a really rich, great pasta, you want to sauce it minimally. A very accomplished chef, who has worked at America's most prestigous kitchens (Ducasse, Per Se, The French Laundry, Charlie Trotter's, etc and is now at Rae in Philadelphia) and just left Lacroix a few months ago, told me that Thomas Keller simply sauces his pasta with beurre monte, a simple water and butter emulsion. He on the other hand, like Ducasse, sauces his with creme fraiche. Butter is more of a straightforward flavor, whereas creme fraiche adds some seasoning. In addition to being creamy, creme fraiche adds a slightly acidic taste, adding a flavor profile to your basic, buttery pasta dish. Similarly, this same chef adds lemon juice to his butter when butter poaching lobster. Oftentimes we neglect acid as a flavor enhancer.