Thursday, June 3, 2010

Magic Pasta

This is a wonderful pasta dish. First make the pasta: put 500g of strong flour and 5 large eggs into a food processor. Pulse process until it comes together in a crumb. Turn it out onto a board and knead until it forms a silky dough. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and set aside at room temperature to rest for an hour.
After the pasta has rested process it through a pasta machine, making sure that it is well laminated. Then progressively work the pasta down to the finest setting on the machine. Once it is thin enough, use the die of your preference to cut into strips - tagliatelle, parpadelle or whatever you prefer.
Meanwhile take 8 or 10 leaves of cavolo nero and strip the leaves from the stems. Roll the leaves and cut into a coarse chiffonade. In a fry pan add a good dollop of olive oil, a couple of crushed cloves of garlic, six anchovy fillets and a finely chopped hot red chilli. Saute until fragrant and then add the cavolo nero. Put a lid on and braise for 20 minutes, you probably won't need to add any water.
Put on the water for the pasta and when it boils salt it and add the pasta.
Meanwhile steam two heads of broccoli until very well cooked. When it is well cooked crumble it and add to the cavolo nero along with 200g of finely sliced smoked salmon. Mix well and warm through.
Drain the pasta when al dente. Serve with the cavolo nero sauce, freshly chopped flat leaf parsley, grated parmesan, ground black pepper and a good olive oil to sprinkle on top.
Buon appetito.
Note: The word "laminate" may be alien to you when used with respect to pasta. In my view it's the key to getting good home made pasta. Maybe the real experts get to the same place another way, but if they do I'm not aware of it. Lamination is a simple process. Set the pasta maker on the thickest setting. Take pieces of dough and run them through. As they become wider fold the two sides together and put them through again. As they become longer fold the two ends together and put them through again. You need to put the dough through about 10-12 times. At the end the dough will have changed. It will now be durable and flexible, not like a biscuit dough as it may have been at the start. The dough should be about 1/3 to 1/2 the width of the pasta machine rollers and ready to be rolled thin. This is in my experience the way to get pasta that is delicate yet robust at the end of the process, when it's cooked.

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