One of my three favorite food groups: pasta, cheese, and wine. You can imagine my glee when my hubby surprised me the other day with a cookbook from Flour + Water, a hit pasta and pizza restaurant in San Francisco. The cookbook is simply named Flour and Water: Pasta.
In my never ending quest to master homemade pasta, you will be seeing many of my attempts at recipes from this book over the next few months. Just by doing this first recipe from the book I learned 3 awesome new techniques: how to really make dough by hand, how to properly run dough through a pasta machine, and how to make pan sauces. Now, it’s not like I haven’t done those last 3 things before–I just didn’t do them as well as I could have.
This ravioli dough is truly luxurious. It’s so egg-y–the yellow color is gorgeous, and the texture is as smooth as can be imagined. Please see my post Ravioli Dough for the full details and recipe.
Once the dough is made, rested, and pressed and stretched into sheets, I (along with my hubby and friend Sean) made these cutie pie, caramel-shaped pasta shapes.
Once the pasta was boiled to al dente, I added it to the sauce. On the sauce… The key is to keep the fattisu moving quickly as you’re swirling them in the sauce, being careful not to cut into any of them. This was tough with 70+ fattisu all at once, so I’d suggest using the biggest pan you have. I suppose you COULD do it in 2 batches, but I don’t have the patience for that. Also, Chef McNaughton suggests continuing this process until the sauce coats the back of the spoon or when you drag a spoon across the bottom of the pan, the sauce stays separated for a few seconds. He’s absolutely right to do that, but for me, once the sauce was at that point, I turned off the heat, and started to serve 4 portions, 1 portion at a time. That extra few minutes of portioning meant that my sauce continued to thicken and thus was less “sauce-y” by the time I finished. Thus, I’d recommend increasing the chicken stock AND stopping the sauce/fattisu tossing juuuuust shy of the “coat the back of the spoon” phase.
Now, how did it all taste? Some parts awesome, some not so awesome. The idea of adding vinegar and mustard was intriguing to me. Mustard??? In pasta?? It really worked to balance out the rich mortadella. And mustard and cabbage are a traditional combination. But the mustard/vinegar level was just a bit TOO high for me–it overpowered some of the elements. I’d probably reduce those levels a bit to achieve a better balance. Those critiques aside, the dough was incredibly tender, the combination of textures was so pleasing. For the 4 of us eating, there wasn’t a morsel left in our bowls. I’d call it a win.
Mortadella Fattisu with Pistachios
excerpted from: Flour + Water cookbook by Thomas McNaughton
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound mortadella, cut into ½ -inch cubes (450 grams)
1 small yellow onion, cut into small dice (150 grams)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large savoy cabbage, cut into 1-inch dice (360 grams)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup white wine (75 milliliters)
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I42 grams)
1 ½ cups pork or chicken stock (355 milliliters) or store-bought (Note: I suggest increasing to 2 cups. I used store-bought chicken stock.)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (71 grams)
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard (Note: I suggest reducing this to 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar (Note: I suggest reducing this to 1/2 teaspoon or none at all–worth experimenting with.)
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for ﬁnishing
2 tablespoons pistachios, toasted and coarsely chopped
To make the filling, in a 12 inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the mortadella and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove the mortadella and reserve. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the butter, cabbage, and salt and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the white wine and cook until the pan is almost dry, about 12 minutes. Transfer the cabbage to the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until it’s finely diced; add the mortadella and onion-cabbage mixture and continue pulsing until the filling is coarsely pureed. Fold in the mustard, apple cider vinegar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano and let cool completely before using. Once cooled, refrigerate or freeze, covered in an airtight container, until ready to use. Frozen filling can be thawed in refrigerator for 24 hours. You should have about 4 cups. The filling will last 2 to 3 days refrigerated. (Note: I had WAY too much leftover filling. So you can cut back some of those ingredients if you like, but be careful, proportions are very important.)
Dust 2 baking sheets with semolina flour and set aside.
To make the pasta, using a pasta machine, roll out the dough until the sheet is just translucent. Cut a 2-foot section of the dough sheet and cover the rest of the dough with plastic wrap.
Using a straight wheel cutter or a knife and a ruler, cut the pasta sheets into rectangles measuring 2 ¼ inches x 2 ¾ inches. Using a piping bag or a spoon, place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each rectangle. Fold one long edge just over the filling (like you are folding a letter) and then roll through to finish the fold. Use a spritz of water from a spray bottle to help seal if necessary. Gently press out the air around the filling by running your fingers from the tip of the triangle downward, creating one airtight lump in the middle. Twist each end of the pasta 180 degrees (one half turn) in opposing directions and flatten the ends so the pasta looks like a wrapped caramel.
Trim the edges using a fluted wheel cutter. Working quickly, place the fattisu on the prepared baking sheets, spaced apart, until ready to cook. Don’t let the fattisu touch each other or they may stick together. Repeat until you run out of dough or filling. You should have about 50 to 60 pieces. (Note: I had 70/75 and I threw away the duds.)
To finish, bring a large pot of seasoned water to a boil.
Bring the stock to a simmer in a 12-inch sauté pan over high heat and reduce by half. Once the stock has been reduced by half, add the butter.
At the same time, drop the pasta in the boiling water.
Add the mustard and the parsley to the pan. Once the pasta is cooked 80% through, until almost al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes, add it to the pan, swirling until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Add the apple cider vinegar and cook until the pasta is tender, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.
To serve, divide the pasta and sauce between four plates. Finish with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and toasted pistachios.