Summertime Pasta with Fresh Pappardelle
Way back in the day, I was a lowly prep cook at a Michelin starred Italian restaurant in SF. It was my first "job" out of culinary school and it was intense. Most of my day was spent doing tasks that were tedious and boring (and frankly kind of awful). But on special occasions the man in charge of the pasta station would let me help make the fresh pasta. I think it was right there that I developed a love for fresh pasta. Simple ingredients -flour, eggs, salt and oil - come together to create the most delicious chewy texture that is the base for so many perfect meals.
I know that making fresh pasta sounds like a pain but it is not. It just takes a little time. Here is my secret - I actually do most of it with my stand mixer. I recently got my hands on the new Kitchen Aid Artisan Mini Stand Mixer at Williams-Sonoma which is smaller than a regular stand mixer but still just as powerful. It also fits all the amazing Kitchen Aid attachments, specifically the pasta attachments which I love. The stand mixer can knead your dough in the bowl then using the attachments - roll it and shape it. I like to knead the dough by hand because it is somewhat cathartic but by all means use the stand mixer to make your life easier.
I decided to make pappardelle shaped pasta because it is my favorite. I love those long wide noodles - they just seem to glamorous for some reason. I cut the shape by hand but again you can use the Kitchen Aid pasta attachment to cut your pasta sheets to any size.
So since it is summer and the markets are filled with summer produce, here is my version of a summertime pasta with fresh homemade pappardelle.
So lets break down this recipe
Fresh pasta is made by combining flour, eggs, egg yolks, salt and olive oil. This mixture is kneaded together to form a dough, allowed to rest for an hour then rolled out using the pasta roller attachment on a Kitchen Aid (or any other type of pasta roller). The pasta sheets are then cut into pappardelle size and added into a pasta dish made with summery vegetables and a white wine pan sauce. All of that deliciousness is topped with ricotta, Parmesan cheese and basil. Delicious!
Why this recipe works
Often times pasta is dredged in thick sauce making the dish really heavy. By creating a pan sauce as the flavorful base, the pasta dish is light and hearty and the fresh pasta shines. Freshness and texture is added by using fresh vegetables. And no pasta dish is complete without cheese! A couple dollops of ricotta is adds creaminess.
The obvious shortcut is to use dried pasta and that is totally recommended if you don't have time to make fresh pasta. Fresh pasta is a luxury if you have the time but if not, no worries. If you do decide to make the pasta here are a couple tips. First if the dough becomes too dry run your hands under the faucet getting them wet then continue to knead. This technique helps to prevent too much water from being added to the dough. Also if your dough becomes to hard to work with, let it rest for a couple minutes. What happens is the gluten gets too tough and by letting the dough relax, the gluten will soften and make it easier to knead.
Lastly feel free to use other types of summertime vegetables in the dish and you could swap burrata for ricotta and it be a fantastic twist.
Summertime Pasta with Fresh Pappardelle
For the fresh pasta
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 eggs
- 6 egg yolks
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp. olive oil
For the summertime pasta
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 cup fresh corn kernels
- 2 cups zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper
To make the pasta
Add flour onto a work surface. Using your fingertips, make a well in the center. Break the eggs into the center of the well and add egg yolks, salt and the olive oil. Using a fork, beat until blended, making sure the liquid does not breach the walls of the well.
'Using the fork, gradually draw the flour from the sides of the well into the egg mixture and beat gently to combine the flour with the liquid. Secure the wall of the well with your other hand until the liquid has absorbed enough flour that it will not flow over the wall.
When the mixture is too stiff to use the fork, begin using both hands, gradually drawing in the flour from the bottom of the wall, until you have a soft, tacky, but not sticky ball of dough. If the dough will not absorb more flour, do not use it all. If it is too soft, add more flour, a spoonful at a time. Clean the work surface, dust it lightly with flour and flatten the ball of dough into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour. Slice dough into 1" thick slices and roll using the pasta rolling Kitchen Aid attachment (or any other pasta rolling machine). Fold the dough onto itself two times lengthwise then cut into 1" thick pieces of pasta. Toss with semolina until ready to cook. When ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and boil pasta for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain saving 1/2 cup of the pasta liquid.
To make the summertime pasta dish
Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Toss tomatoes with 1 Tbs. olive oil and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and roast tomatoes for 15 to 20 minutes or until tomatoes have wilted slightly and begun to burst.
While the tomatoes are roasting make the rest of the dish. In a large skillet over medium heat warm remaining olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook until shallot is translucent, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the roasted tomatoes, zucchini, corn and fresh pasta. Mix well adding 1/4 cup of pasta water as needed to loosen the pan sauce. Fold in ricotta and Parmesan cheese and top with basil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.