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Monthly Archives: June 2011

July: Fresh Pasta: World Kitchen Italy

Thank you so much to everyone that participated in our last World Kitchen event.  It was a very new experience for me (Amanda) and I had a great time chatting with everyone.  Laura is gone on an extended vacation and so the next event will be hosted by me!  I’ve chosen something that I have grown up making – fresh pasta.  What’s going to make this month unique is that I’m leaving a lot of the details up to you.  You decide whether to make traditional or colored/flavored pasta.  You also will be able to decide which sauce you want to use.  I encourage you to link up any of your favorite sauces or any posts from your own blogs of sauce or pasta recipes.

I’m really excited to see what kinds of combinations everyone comes up with.

Get ready because we’ll be live-tweeting and cooking on Sunday July 24th starting at 12pm Central.

Mario Batali’s Fresh Pasta (original)

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs

Directions

Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the eggs. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). The dough will come together in a shaggy mass when about half of the flour is incorporated.

Start kneading the dough with both hands, primarily using the palms of your hands. Add more flour, in 1/2-cup increments, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any left over dry bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. Roll and form as desired.

Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe, they are essential for a light pasta.

Variations on Fresh Pasta from About Italian Food (original)

Green Pasta

This is the most classic color, and gives rise topasta paglia e fieno (straw and hay) — a combination of green and yellow tagliatelle, which is often served with cream sauces or salsa ai funghi (mushroom sauce). Green pasta is also an excellent alternative if you’re making lasagna or ravioli. To make it you’ll need:

  • 7/8 pound (400 g, or 3 1/3 cups) flour
  • 8 ounces (220 g) raw spinach
  • 3 eggs
  • A pinch of salt

Wash the spinach well, shred it coarsely, and heat it in a pot with just the water that sticks to the leaves. Add a pinch of salt and stir it until it is completely wilted (5 minutes), then let it cool and squeeze it well to remove all the moisture you can. Blend the spinach and combine it with the other ingredients when you make the dough. As variations, you can also use wild greens, or nettles (use gloves when you pick and wash them).

Red Pasta

The proportions are similar to those for green pasta:

  • 7/8 pound (400 g, or 3 1/3 cups) flour
  • 9 ounces (250 g) carrots
  • 3 eggs
  • A tablespoon of tomato paste
  • A pinch of salt

Peel the carrots, dice them, and simmer them until soft in lightly salted water. Drain them well, blend them, add the tomato paste to the mixture, and heating it pot, stirring constantly, until it has become quite firm. Combine the mixture with the other ingredients when you make the dough. If you want the pasta really red you can dispense with the carrots and simply cook down a tube of tomato paste, though in this case the resulting pasta will be rather acidic and will require something along the lines of a cream sauce to balance it.

Brown Pasta

This is a comparatively new addition to the pasta cornucopia, and is made with powdered baking (unsweetened) chocolate:

  • 7/8 pound (400 g, or 3 1/3 cups) flour
  • 3 ounces (80 g) powdered baking chocolate
  • 4 eggs
  • A pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients, and make pasta as you normally would. Contrary to what you might expect, it’s not sweet because baking chocolate. It will work quite nicely with rich game-based pasta sauces.

Cheese Pasta

In terms of color this really isn’t that different from regular, but it is a pleasant change of pace:

  • 1/2 pound (225 g, or 1 4/5 cups) flour
  • 1/2 pound (200 g) grated Parmigiano
  • 3 eggs

You shouldn’t need salt, due to the salt content of the Parmigiano. Combine the ingredients and proceed as normal, seasoning the finished pasta with unsalted butter and sage or a light tomato sauce. One warning: because of the cheese, this pasta doesn’t keep well.

Orange Pasta

Not carrot this time, but squash: Pick one with orange flesh (pumpkin will also work)

  • 7/8 pound (400 g, or 3 1/3 cups) flour
  • 7/8 pound (400 g) squash
  • 2 eggs
  • A pinch of salt

Peel and dice the squash, discarding seeds and strings, and boil the pieces in lightly salted water for about a half hour. Drain the pieces well, blend them, and should the paste be too liquid, heat it again, stirring briskly, until it has thickened. Use the paste to make the pasta.

Speckled Pasta

These are a surprising delight, and since the strengths of herbs vary from time to time, will never be quite the same from batch to batch.

  • 7/8 pound (400 g, or 3 1/3 cups) flour
  • 1/4 cup or to taste finely minced fresh herbs, for example sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, or whatever else suits your fancy
  • 4 eggs
  • A pinch of salt

The exact volume of herbs will vary depending upon the herbs you chose and their potency. In any case, wash them well, pat them dry, strip the leaves from the stems, and mince the leaves. Combine the ingredients and make the pasta. The best sauce here will be unsalted butter, and a light dusting of grated Parmigiano.

Black Pasta

These are slightly unsettling the first time one sees them, but are perfect with creamy fish-based sauces.

  • 7/8 pound (400 g, or 3 1/3 cups) flour
  • 4 teaspoons squid ink (fresh will be best, from your fishmonger, but it is also available, in packets, in well-stocked delicatessens)
  • 4 eggs
  • A pinch of salt

Combine the ingredients and make the pasta as usual.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2011 in Europe

 

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