Friday, July 30, 2010

Recipe: Tagliarini with Pancetta, Sweet Onions, Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach & Ricotta

Paul Losch, chef at Vino Paradiso, graces our events stage Sunday morning with a pasta-making tutorial and a recipe for a delicious, seasonal sauce of market ingredients. Sweet onions, ripe tomatoes, fresh spinach, pancetta and homemade ricotta. There is a lot to learn and Paul graciously dishes it out during his culinary demonstration. 10:30-11:30 am.

Here's a recipe teaser to get you excited about the demo (jeez, is anyone hungry for lunch yet?):
Tagliarini with Pancetta, Sweet Onions, Heirloom Tomatoes, Spinach & Ricotta
by Paul Losch, Vino Paradiso

**Note: This is going to sound really tricky.. it is not! Making pasta from scratch is an extremely fun and rewarding at home project, and pretty easy once you get the hang of it. You probably won’t make perfect pasta the first time, that’s fine, just have fun with it. I have included all the little tricks I can think of. Remember to feel the dough.. it’ll help each time!

00 Durham Wheat Flour or All-Purpose Flour 9oz
Semolina Flour 2oz
Whole Eggs 6oz

1) Set up a clean counter or table top to work on. I prefer a wooden countertop, but any smooth surface with room enough to knead a small amount of dough, and also roll and cut the dough after it rests, will do.
2) Mix your flours together and form into a mound on the countertop. Make a well in the center.
3) Add your eggs into the well and begin mixing to the dry with a fork.
4) As the eggs absorb, lose the fork and begin mixing and kneading by hand. Knead for approximately 8 minutes. The dough may seem a little dry, but if all the flour is incorporated and it’s not crumbling apart, it is ok. If it does appear to dry, add water by the drop! Pasta dough is pretty touchy, and until you get the hang of it, you’ll always want to make it too wet.
If your dough feels tacky and moist, dust with flour and continue to knead.
Do your best to not overwork the dough, adjustments can be made when rolling
5) When you think you’ve got the dough right, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and leave on the counter for 30 minutes. If you want to make the dough ahead of time, and roll it and cut it later, here is where you would throw it in the fridge.. just leave yourself about 1hr for the dough to soften when you take it out of the fridge.
6) Set up your pasta roller. If you are using the hand crank, make sure it’s clamped securely to the counter top! Kitchen Aid attachments and electric rollers will work, too.
7) After 30 minutes is up, cut the dough in half. With a rolling pin, roll one half down until it will just fit in the widest setting on the pasta machine, adding flour or sprays of water if needed. Try to keep the dough narrower than the width of the rollers.
8) Pass the dough through the rollers one time. If it’s really wonky and out of shape, fold the dough on itself into a rectangle about 1/2” narrower than the rollers. Roll down again to just thicker than the rollers. You should have a pretty close rectangle now. Continue rolling the dough until it is slightly thinner than what fettucine noodles are. Cut into lengths about 12” and set aside, Dust with flour and overlap them on the counter.
9) Repeat with the second half.
10) If you have the cutter attachment, pass the sheets through the wide cutter. As the noodles come out, dust w/ flour(semolina is best) and place on a sheet pan.
For our purposes, we’ll be using the noodles right away, so they can stay out on the counter.
You can also form the noodles into nests, place them on a flat dish and put them in the freezer. Once
they have frozen, transfer to a ziplock bag or storage container and freeze for up to a month.
11) Bring a pot of salted water to a boil while preparing the sauce.
12) Cook the noodles just before they are added to the sauce, fresh pasta will only take about 2 minutes to cook.

Olive Oil 2 Tb
Pancetta or Bacon 1/4 LB
Walla Walla Onion, sliced 1 ea
Large Heirloom Tomato, cut into large chunks 2 ea
Spinach, cleaned and stemmed 1/4 LB
Fresh Herbs(chives, oregano, thyme, etc) 2 Tb
Chicken Stock 2 C
Veg Stock 2 C
Butter 2 Tb
Ricotta 1/4 C

1) Heat a large saucepan over med heat with the olive oil & pancetta.
2) Before the pancetta is completely crisp, add the onions. Saute the onions to golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.
3) Add the tomato & herbs, saute until the tomato softens, approximately 2 minutes.
4) Add the stock and turn flame to medium-high. Let sauce reduce by half.
5) Stir in butter and turn off heat.
6) Toss in noodles and spinach until spinach is wilted and noodles have absorbed some sauce.
7) Serve and top with a spoonfull of fresh ricotta.

Fresh Ricotta
Whole Milk 1/2 Gal
Lemon, Juiced 1 ea

1) Combine in a non-reactive sauce pot over low heat.
2) Stir occasionally, making sure to keep the bottom clean... I find a rubber spatula works best.
3) After about 30 minutes, you should notice the milk beginning to separate. Continue stirring constantly until you see curds forming.
4) Strain through cheescloth. A clean t-shirt or napkin will also work.
5) Allow to drain until creamy.

*For a softer curd, strain before the curds have completely separated, or add in a little whole milk after straining.

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