Make your own pasta at home

The Southern Berks News - - FRONT PAGE - By Emily Ryan

Pasta doesn’t have to come from a box or a frozen bag. Whether you’re a pasta pro or first-timer, award-win­ning chef, au­thor and restau­ra­teur Marc Vetri has you cov­ered.

Treat friends and fam­ily to his ca­son­celli with crispy sage and brown but­ter – “a ravi­oli-type dish tra­di­tional to Berg­amo in north­ern Italy.”

“You can find it there year­round, but I es­pe­cially like to make it in my kitchen in the fall months,” ex­plained the founder of the Vetri Fam­ily of restau­rants. “The smell of the sage and the amaretti and the pancetta cook­ing to­gether just re­minds me of all the best things about fall.”

With meat, raisins, crushed amaretti cook­ies and more, “it’s savory; it’s sweet; it’s got some­thing for ev­ery­one,” Vetri de­scribed.

“It’s a hearty taste of fall and a taste of one of the great culi­nary re­gions of the world.”

Ca­son­celli with Crispy Sage and Brown But­ter

This is the first stuffed pasta I learned to make at Tav­erna Colleoni dell’An­gelo. The prepa­ra­tion, a type of ravi­oli, is lo­cal to Berg­amo and has evolved among cooks over many decades. Years ago in the re­gion, when times were lean, ravi­oli were made with what­ever scraps of meat were left over. The scraps were cooked in red wine and then ground up and mixed with herbs, raisins, crushed cook­ies or what­ever was on hand to bulk up the fill­ing. To­day, of course, ca­son­celli is more re­fined. When choos­ing meat scraps for this recipe, use a mix­ture of lean and fatty pieces. If you are buy­ing meat solely for this recipe, use shoul­der (chuck) cuts or dark poul­try meat for the most fla­vor. Makes 8 to 10 serv­ings.

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

Ca­son­celli:

4 ounces bone­less pork shoul­der or scraps

4 ounces bone­less veal shoul­der (chuck) or scraps

4 ounces bone­less beef shoul­der (chuck) or scraps

4 ounces bone­less, skin­less chicken thigh or scraps 2 ounces salami

2 ounces prosci­utto

¼ cup olive oil

½ car­rot, peeled and finely chopped

½ onion, finely chopped ½ cel­ery stalk, finely chopped

1 cup dry red wine 2 cloves gar­lic, finely chopped

Leaves from ½ bunch of sage (8 to 10 small leaves), finely chopped

2 large eggs

½ cup grated Parme­san cheese

¼ cup raisins

¼ cup crushed amaretti or other al­mond cook­ies Freshly grated nut­meg Kosher salt and freshly ground black pep­per

1 pound ba­sic pasta dough (see be­low)

Crispy sage and pancetta: 1 cup (8 ounces) un­salted but­ter

4 ounces pancetta, juli­enned

20 small leaves fresh sage

INSTRUCTIONS

For the ca­son­celli: If you have pur­chased pork, beef, veal and chicken for this recipe, cut them into uni­form chunks, so they will brown eas­ily. Cut the salami into chunks and the prosci­utto into strips. Heat 2 ta­ble­spoons on the oil in a big sauté pan over medi­umhigh heat. Add the pork, veal, beef, chicken, salami and prosci­utto and cook, turn­ing as needed, for 15 to 20 min­utes or un­til the meats are deeply browned (al­most burned). Heat the re­main­ing 2 ta­ble­spoons oil in a sep­a­rate sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the car­rot, onion and cel­ery and cook, stir­ring now and then, for 8 to 10 min­utes or un­til browned. Add the cooked veg­eta­bles to the meat, pour in the wine and scrape the pan bot­tom to loosen any browned-on bits. Cook for 2 min­utes and then add the gar­lic and sage. Re­duce the heat to low and cook for 30 min­utes or un­til so brown that you need to scrape it off the bot­tom of the pan (if it looks like you’ll need to soak the pan for a day af­ter­ward, it’s ready). Re­move from the heat and let the mix­ture cool to al­most room tem­per­a­ture.

Us­ing a meat grinder fit­ted with the ¼-inch (fine) die, grind the cooled mix­ture, cap­tur­ing it in a bowl. Add the eggs, Parme­san, raisins and cookie crumbs and sea­son gen­er­ously with nut­meg and with salt and pep­per. Mix thor­oughly with your hands. Cover and re­frig­er­ate un­til needed. You should have 2½ to 3 cups fill­ing.

Make the pasta dough and roll out as di­rected. Lay a pasta sheet on a lightly floured work sur­face and cut in half length­wise to make 2 long sheets each 3 to 4 inches wide. Spray the sheets lightly with wa­ter. Place ½- to ¾-inch balls of fill­ing at 1½inch in­ter­vals down the cen­ter of both sheets. Start­ing at the short end of 1 sheet, pick up the long edge and fold it over the fill­ing to meet the long edge on the other side. The fold should oc­cur at the right edge of the fill­ing. Con­tinue along the length of the sheet, fold­ing the dough over the fill­ing. Gen­tly press down the dough around each ball of fill­ing to elim­i­nate air pock­ets. Us­ing a 2½-inch round cut­ter, cut out a series of half-moons, plac­ing the cut­ter off cen­ter so the folded edge of the pasta bi­sects the equa­tor of the cut­ter. Hem each half-moon by fold­ing and rolling the out­side edges in. Turn each half-moon up on the curved edge you just rolled. Use your fin­ger to flat­ten each cen­ter slightly so the half-moon will stand up on the curved edge. Slightly pinch the pasta on ei­ther side of the fill­ing to make “wings.” The fin­ished pasta should re­sem­ble a piece of wrapped candy. Trans­fer the ca­son­celli to a bak­ing sheet lined with floured waxed pa­per, cover and re­frig­er­ate for 1 hour.

For the crispy sage and pancetta: Put the but­ter, pancetta and sage in a sauté pan over low heat and cook for 15 to 20 min­utes or un­til the pancetta and sage are crispy. The but­ter should also be browned at this point. Re­move from the heat be­fore the but­ter burns and keep hot.

Bring a pot of salted wa­ter to a boil. Add the pasta, in batches if nec­es­sary to pre­vent crowd­ing, and cook for 5 to 6 min­utes or un­til just ten­der. Us­ing a slot­ted spoon, trans­fer the ca­son­celli to a warmed, shal­low bowl. Pour the but­ter over the pasta and sprin­kle with the bits of crispy pancetta and sage.

Prep ahead: The fill­ing can be made up to 6 hours ahead, cov­ered and re­frig­er­ated, or it can be frozen for up to 1 month. The ca­son­celli can be frozen in a sin­gle layer, trans­ferred to zip­pered plas­tic bags and stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. Cook di­rectly from the freezer, adding 1 to 2 min­utes to the cook­ing time.

Im­prov: If you don’t have all of the fresh meats for the fill­ing, re­place them with 1 pound veal shoul­der. You can also use pancetta or other cured meats in­stead of the salami and prosci­utto.

RECIPE COURTESY OF IL VIAGGIO DI VETRI Ba­sic Pasta Dough

My pasta dough is a lit­tle wet­ter than oth­ers I see. That gives you more time to work with it be­fore it be­gins to dry out. If you use the dough right away, you can al­ways add more flour as you are sheet­ing it. The amounts here make about 1 pound of dough, enough for 6 fully rolled pasta sheets, each 4to 5-feet long. That is enough for about thirty-two 2-inch square (large ravi­oli) or fortysix 1-inch square (small) ravi­oli. Most of my recipes call for 1 pound of pasta, but if you need only 8 ounces, di­vide the recipe in half. I use weight rather than vol­ume mea­sure­ments for the in­gre­di­ents in this recipe be­cause flour weights vary, re­sult­ing in dif­fer­ent vol­ume mea­sure­ments. Weight mea­sure­ments are more ac­cu­rate re­gard­less of which brand of flour you use. Makes 1 pound.

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

6½ ounces (1¼cups) tipo 00 flour or all-pur­pose flour, plus more for dust­ing

2½ ounces (1/3 cup plus 1½ ta­ble­spoons) semolina flour

9 large egg yolks

3 to 4 ta­ble­spoons wa­ter 1 ta­ble­spoon ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS

Com­bine both flours in a stand mixer fit­ted with a pad­dle at­tach­ment. With the ma­chine run­ning on medium speed, add the egg yolks, wa­ter and oil and mix un­til the in­gre­di­ents come to­gether. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work sur­face and knead for about 5 min­utes or un­til silky and smooth, knead­ing in more flour if the dough is too sticky. The dough is ready if it gen­tly pulls back into place when stretched with your hands. Shape the dough into a 6-inch-long log, wrap in plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ate for at least 30 min­utes or up to 3 days (it could get too soft and dif­fi­cult to roll if left at room tem­per­a­ture).

Cut the dough into six equal pieces and let them re­turn al­most to room tem­per­a­ture. Po­si­tion the rollers on a pasta ma­chine at the widest set­ting and roll one piece of dough through the rollers two or three times, lightly dust­ing the dough with flour if nec­es­sary to pre­vent stick­ing. Re­set the rollers to the next nar­rower set­ting and again pass the dough through the rollers two or three times, lightly dust­ing with flour as needed. Flour and pass the dough two or three times through each pro­gres­sively nar­rower set­ting, con­clud­ing with the nar­row­est set­ting or as di­rected in in­di­vid­ual recipes. Be­tween rollings, con­tinue to dust the dough lightly with flour if needed, al­ways brush­ing off the ex­cess. You should end up with a sheet 4- to 5-feet long and thin enough to see your hand through it when it is held up to the light.

Lay the pasta sheet on a lightly floured work sur­face and sprin­kle lightly with flour. Use a knife or the cut­ter at­tach­ment on the pasta ma­chine to cre­ate the pasta shape spec­i­fied in in­di­vid­ual recipes. When mak­ing ravi­oli, spray the pasta with a lit­tle wa­ter to keep it from dry­ing out and to give you a lit­tle more time to work. Re­peat with the re­main­ing pieces of dough.

Prep ahead: The pasta dough can be wrapped in plas­tic wrap and re­frig­er­ated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 weeks. Bring the dough to room tem­per­a­ture be­fore rolling and cut­ting.

PHOTO COURTESY OF VETRI CUCINA

Ca­son­celli with crispy sage and brown but­ter has “some­thing for ev­ery­one,” says chef Marc Vetri.

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