Friday, November 5, 2010

Cielo Chiaro Special: Homemade Tagliatelle e Gorgonzola

When we moved in, we (you would too—I know you) almost immediately went through the kitchen cabinets to see how stocked up the new pad was with glassware (especially important), dishes, utensils, and anything else that might be needed (or just fun to play with). It was a like a little kitchenware treasure hunt, and one of the finest treasure found was a classic pasta maker. Crafted with care and meant to last at least one lifetime, if not two, this sturdy metal device is of the hand-crank variety, and was a fortuitous find, because we knew we wanted to start making more of our own pasta (we did a little back at the Seattle home with our KitchenAid, which has a great pasta attachment). And while it’s a kick to cut your own, having pasta in generally uniform and recognizable shapes isn’t a bad thing either.

So, we busted it out a bit ago, to start our pasta-making adventures. We followed the advice of our Italian grandmother, Jeremy Holt (okay, Italian grandfather—though he can wear a nice dress), who in Double Take reminds us “un uovo per etto.” Or, 1 egg per 100 grams (grams works great for us, as that’s what we’re operating in mostly, but it goes as Jerm says to about 3-1/2 ounces). We went with the Tagliatelle setting on the pasta maker, and it came out darn swell. Our pasta was a little thick (seemed more East European than Italian in a way), maybe Tagliatunni, so next time we need to either us the rolling function on notch more, knead less, or boil less. As Jeremy also says, becoming a pasta master takes time and trial and error. I look forward to the testing—and tasting. We mixed up a simple gorgonzola sauce to toss with the pasta, and mixed in some fresh walnuts, too, as Nat had recently picked up another passel of them from the tree in our yard:

Tagliatelle e Gorgonzola

2 eggs
200 grams flour, plus extra for dusting
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup regular gorgonzola, crumbled
1/2 cup dolce gorgonzola, crumbled (see Note)
1 cup chopped walnuts
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Make a mound of the flour on the counter or in a bowl or pan, depending on how good at this you are, or your tolerance for flour getting dispersed. Make a well in the middle of the flour. Crack the eggs into the middle of the well. Carefully beat the eggs a bit, and then using your hands or a fork, slowly combine the eggs and flour.

2. After kneading the eggs and flour into a smooth dough (if it seems to dry, add a little water or olive oil; if too wet, add a little more flour), make the dough into a nice round mound. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Then slice into ovals—if using a pasta maker. If not, roll it out thin and slice it accordingly.

3. If using a pasta maker, run the ovals through it according to the directions (you want it fairly thin), and then run the longer, thinner ovals through the tagliatelle setting. My one hint with the pasta maker is, don’t be lean on the flour for dusting. When the pasta comes through the roller, just dust it a bit every time, or every other time. When it comes out that last time as tagliatelle, load on a little flour and toss it a bit to keep it from sticking.

4. Once the pasta is made (or even sooner if you want), fill a stockpot with water over high heat, adding a little salt once it’s boiling.

5. As you’re waiting for the water to boil, place the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the butter bubbles, start adding the gorgonzola and reduce the heat to medium. Cook over this medium heat, stirring very regularly, until the sauce is smooth. It should take about 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Once the sauce is close to done, add the pasta to the boiling water. It will cook very rapidly—a couple minutes max. Once it’s floating, it should be done (but hey, test a little to see if it’s at your level of al dente-ness).

7. Strain the pasta, put it in a bowl, and pour that sauce over it. Add the walnuts, and toss a bit. Then add a little fresh pepper and salt to taste.

A Note: Dolce Gorgonzola is a Gorgonzola and Mascarpone combo. An out-of-this-world combo on crackers or in sauces such as this one.  Using half of it helps to cream and smooth the edges on this sauce. If you can’t pick it up, you could go 3/4s Gorgonzola and 1/4 other super creamy cheese.
*See more specials: Penne e Noce, Zuppa di Pomodoro e’ Fagioli, Italian Burgers,Torta Vegetariana

*See all Cielo Chiaro Specials

No comments:

Post a Comment