Posts Tagged ‘pappardelle’

As you may know by now, I have a thing for pasta. But after two weeks of pasta-free cleansing, I couldn’t decide what kind I wanted first. And then I started to feel like maybe I shouldn’t be too decadent (with a loaded mac and cheese, for instance), since I just spent two weeks without white flours. So, I decided to compromise. It’s usually the right answer, and dinner was no exception. I made some spelt pappardelle (with leftover spelt flour– it’s a whole grain) and of course, I still don’t have a pasta machine so I rolled it by hand. At least my arms would get a workout while making it. I’ve made regular pasta dough this way, but I don’t do it often.

I went with the ingredients I had on hand, which included a leek, mushrooms, and some chevre. Mushrooms gave it a nice meatiness, particularly with the musty darkness of the dried porcini that reminds me of a forest. I threw in a little leftover chevre because I wanted an unctuous creaminess to the sauce without the fat content of cream. I must say, the combination went really well with the hearty spelt pasta.

Spelt Pappardelle with Leeks and Mushrooms

1 leek, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 handful dried porcini, soaked for 10 minutes in a 1/2 cup hot water

1 cup white wine

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

1 tablespoon chopped thyme

3 tablespoons chevre

1 cup spelt flour

1 cup AP flour

3 eggs

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pinch salt

Place the flours on a counter or board and make a well in the center. Add the eggs, olive oil, and salt to the well. Gently, using a fork, start the incorporate from the center of the well out. It will start to come together and you will need to start kneading with your hands. Once it has formed a ball and you have kneaded for a couple minutes, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour. Roll out on a floured board as thinly as you can and cut into pappardelle about 1/2 inch thick. Or, of course you can use a pasta machine. Make sure to dust in flour until you use it so it doesn’t stick together.

Saute the leek and garlic in a couple tablespoons olive oil until they have softened. Add the crimini mushrooms and rosemary and thyme. Once they have browned a bit, add the porcini and reserve the water. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and add the porcini water (straining out any grit in the bottom).

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in heavily salted water until it starts to float. Add the chevre to the sauce and stir to melt. Add the pasta along with a little of the cooking water to the sauce. Stir through and serve with some parmesan or grana padano sprinkled on top. I had some leftover toasted breadcrumbs with herbs in the fridge so I threw some of that on top as well.


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I was itching to slow cook a ragu tonight, and I eventually decided on something that seemed relatively healthier….duck ragu over homemade pappardelle. Usually this is made with just duck legs and thighs, but we could only get a whole duck, so that’s what I used. I love my large Le Creuset dutch oven, something just feels right about braising in it.

Duck Ragu

1 whole duck in parts, skinned with fat removed

1 small onion, diced

1 carrot (or several baby carrots), diced

1 stalk of celery, diced

2 cloves garlic

1.5 cups red wine

Handful of dried porcini mushrooms

1 cup chicken stock

salt and pepper to season

grated parmigiano or pecorino

Brown the duck parts in a tablespoon or two of olive oil and then remove to a separate plate. I take out some of the extra fat in the pan and use new olive oil, but it’s probably really tasty to just use the duck fat to cook the veggies. Throw in the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, and cook for a few minutes until they have softened. A little salt and pepper to season them.

Deglaze the pan with a cup of the red wine, then put in the mushrooms and stock with the veggies and return the duck to the pan. Let it simmer on low heat for an hour. Remove the duck and let it cool so that you can remove the meat from the bones and shred it. Return the shredded duck to the sauce and add another half cup of red wine. Let it reduce down for about 30 minutes, until it has thickened.

Put as much of the ragu as you want to use in a separate pan where you will combine with the cooked pasta. Put the pasta in lots of salted, boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes until it’s aggressively floating and almost ready to eat. Drain and put into the ragu along with a half cup of pasta water and let it cook together for the last couple minutes. Off the heat, add a little more (1 tablespoon) olive oil. Remove to plates and sprinkle with some grated parmegiano or pecorino.

While the duck is simmering, you can make the pasta dough. I don’t have a pasta machine yet, so I roll it out by hand….I don’t recommend it unless you have a lot of patience. But it’s definitely worth making fresh pasta.

Basic Pasta Dough

1.5 cups flour, plus extra for rolling out dough

2 eggs

1 tablespoon olive oil

Put flour in a mound with a hole in the middle. Add eggs and olive oil to center of well, and slowly incorporate using a fork and going around the edges in circles. Use your hands to start pushing everything together and knead the dough until it comes together in a ball and is slightly sticky. Knead for a couple minutes until it starts to give some resistance. Cover in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for up to a day or two.

For my all-by-hand method, flour a board and rolling pin and roll the dough out in sections until very thin, maybe 1/8″. For pappardelle, cut into 1/2-1″ wide strips. Put onto floured cookie sheet until you’re ready to use. Alternatively, you could use a pasta machine.

And the best thing about duck ragu with pappardelle? Leftovers the next day are even better…..yum!

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