Pasta Fit For A King

I remember the first time I saw Elvis’s car.  I was young and dumb and bluer than Blue Suede Shoes.  Uh huh huh.

It was my first sales trip to Nashville and I was on a junket tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame.  (Such are the perks of young, dumb sales reps.)  Frankly, it was a fascinating place and I felt right at home.  Artificiality was no stranger to me (being a food ingredient rep and all) and somehow rhinestones and wigs fit into the general scheme of things.

Wandering amongst the displays, I amused myself, in spite of my limited knowledge of country singers and their hit songs — and then I saw it.  The Golden Cadillac.  Elvis’s car.

I remember thinking to myself, “Wow.  That’s really something.”

In a corny, but sincere way, I meant it.  Gaudy?  Yes.  Excessive?  Yes.  But in that moment, I’d connected with him.  With The American Dream.  Success suddenly seemed possible to the point of being frivolous, and I loved it.

Fast forward to my kitchen one recent evening.

All the elements of a hit were present:  Succulent mushrooms.  Fresh garlic.  A sweet, yellow onion.  Chardonnay.  Heavy cream.  Hope Creamery butter.  (Good ingredients, like catchy lyrics and a solid hook, are mandatory for culinary success.)  But, there’s also the element of it.

Elvis had it — that undefineable something that set him apart from everyone else and made him memorable.  Why on earth I was thinking about him on this particular evening was beyond me.  That’s what I mean by “it.”

I pondered potential seasonings as the onions caramelized.  Freshly ground nutmeg?   Kosher salt?  A twist of the pepper mill?  Yes, yes, and yes.  Grace notes to a sizzling melody.

When the onions were nearly done, I threw in the mushrooms and sauteed them for a couple of minutes, then gently laid the minced garlic over the top.  The ensuing aromas hinted at greatness.

Following a splash of Chardonnay (Elvis was a splashy guy), I deglazed the pan, then added a few tablespoons of heavy cream.  Nice, but it still lacked it. 

For some reason, I thought of Cognac.  Had any been lurking in the cupboard, I would’ve doused the sauce liberally with it.  Perhaps even excessively.  But, Cognac wasn’t in the budget this week (or in any recent week that I can recall), so I dispensed a frivolous glug of whiskey over the lovely mixture and set it ablaze.  (No fancy maneuvers or rhinestone jumpsuits required when pyrotechnics are involved.)

As the flames flickered out, the pale sauce melded into a hue that I can only describe as the color of Elvis’s Golden Cadillac — and it tasted as rich as it looked.  Success.

“Wise men say only fools rush in, but I can’t help falling in love with you.”  Golden Cadillac Pasta.  Thank you, Elvis.  Thank you very much.

Enjoying “Graceland,”

~ Kim

P.S.  Sorry, no recipe — this was “one of a kind” — like him.

29 thoughts on “Pasta Fit For A King

  1. Kim, this is great! What a fantastic connection you made between the *king* and your *king of pasta* and for me, a non-mushroom lover, to be able to see and *smell* the deliciousness, well, you truly created a scrumptious scenario indeed :)

  2. Okay that’s it! Pasta for dinner tonight. But I’ll be listening to Billy Holiday and sipping a robust glass of Cabernet. Because life is short and music is sweet. And, I have a lovely jar of caramelized onions beckoning me.

    P.S. Have I told you lately how much I love to immerse myself in your words and your photographs and your magnificent meals?

    • Sue Ann, Billy Holiday has “it” — so does Cabernet. :) Food, like music, inspires infinite melodies, depending on our mood or preferences. Sounds like you have a food idea singing to you!

      I’ve always said that life is short (especially since my brother died), but I may have to revise my credo to include “music is sweet.” Thanks for the reminder! And thank you for your kind words.
      ~ Kim

  3. Hey Kim,

    Another thing we have in common! Food and Elvis! I listen to him daily on the Sirius Elvis channel. :-)

    Okay, I will have to recreate that awesome recipe. I love mushrooms and wine in a sauce. Plus, pasta – well, I could eat it 3 times a day. Especially, the egg noodle kind…

    Thanks for getting my mouth to water at 8 am in the morning!


    • Marion, I’m so far behind the times, I didn’t even know there was a channel dedicated to Elvis, lol.

      Pasta 3 times a day would suit me fine, too… so many sauce variations and cheeses — or veggies or meat… or the whole shebang! Have fun creating your one-of-a-kind!
      ~ Kim

  4. Hahaha! ahhhhhh YES, Kim! Your loves dance together in such a passionate embrace in this post! Music + Food. The ease with which you weave these metaphors together in such divine journey into YOU your history YOUR LOVES your depth of relationship to both. Such DELIGHT in reading your works! And… I am learning how to cook magnificent dishes with what the simple things I have on hand. sighhhhhh… such delicious imagination! You know how to live!
    The photos say it all.

    • Kathleen, you’ve identified an underlying love of mine… music. Somehow it’s always a part of my menu, whether it’s in the background or an integral part of a dish like this. I hadn’t thought about how many things influence our writing (they do, whether we’re aware of it or not!) — neat observation and very true — all of the relationships we treasure/value come out in our words and show the world who we are.

      Glad to hear you’re experimenting in the kitchen! I also loved your phrase “delicious imagination.” Oh my, YES!
      ~ Kim

  5. kimby! it’s time we dine together. your photos, writing and stories of food always excite me and add a spark in my day. bluer the blue suede shoes, one of a kind pasta, and graceland. i love how you have woven all of this together.

    • Thank you, Nasrine! And wouldn’t that be FUN, two food enthusiasts sharing great food together?! I’m so glad my enjoyment of it has added to yours!
      ~ Kim

  6. I have to say…..that was perfection! The writing, the photos, everything! Leaving the exact recipe a mystery was truly an Elvis moment.

    ….much like a lady – you know when to leave a party!


  7. Elvis has been on my mind lately too….”a little less conversation , a little more action please” (my favorite Elvis song) and yesterday I heard him singing “Close at Hand” on the radio (love). Your dish sounds lovely! I love creating in the kitchen too…

    • Painting pictures with words is one of my favorite things to do! I think it’s good to use our “food imaginations” once in awhile. :) Thanks, Heather — enjoy your weekend, too!
      ~ Kim

  8. Kim, wow! this pasta is pure perfection! I love it. It is going on my list of things I want you to make for me….I could be sitting in “my” chair, chilled (and iced) wine in my hand, comfy/kitchen clothes, you and I talking like old friends!

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