“Maltagliatti” means “poorly cut” in Italian. It’s what chefs call pasta made with the bits and pieces left after making traditional shapes: http://www.foodsubs.com/PastaShapes.html. It’s the scraps from the lasagne noodles you make last week! I first saw “Maltagliatti” on a menu in Boston’s North End last year. I love the concept because it implies that fresh pasta was made in the kitchen that morning.
If you didn’t prepare Spring Vegetable Lasagne last week, and have a hankering for delicious fresh pasta, take 10 minutes to make a batch of the dough, roll paper thin, cut it into fettuccine-wide strips, boil in salted water, and serve with fresh tomato sauce… or butter and cheese, or… whatever. You’ll be happy. Promise!
Basic Pasta Dough – Serves 4-6
1/3 (1.25 oz.) cup tapioca flour
1/3 (2 oz.) cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) potato starch flour
1 tablespoon xantham gum (essential, don’t be nervous)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
healthy grind of black pepper (optional)
2 large eggs (splurge on nice organic ones!)
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil
Optional: 1 teaspoon loosely packed grated lemon zest
1. Combine the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low to blend.
2. Add the eggs and olive oil (and lemon zest if using) and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until the dough begins to form a ball that pulls away from the edges of the bowl.
3. Turn the dough onto a clean dry surface that has been lightly dusted with tapioca flour and roll it out as THIN as possible. The dough is cooperative and resilient; it will still handle well when you get it almost translucent. Slice into 1.5 x 5 inch rectangles if making lasagne noodles, otherwise cut into thinner strips. The pasta is ready to cook or freeze to cook later. Wrap between sheets of waxed paper if freezing. Oh, and SAVE the bits and pieces in a baggie for later!
4. Cook the noodles in salted boiling water for 15 – 20 minutes, testing to determine their progress at about 12 minutes. Strain and pour into the hot tomato sauce. Cook tossing gently for 1-2 minutes and serve with freshly grated cheese.
Fresh Tomato and Fennel Ragout Enough for 4 servings
1/2 red onion, diced (keep your onions chilled to prevent “crying” when cutting)
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 cup diced fennel
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence, make certain the blend contains a nice amount of lavender
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (depends on your garlic quota)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes (washed and cut in half if you want to take the time.)
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional: 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1. Heat a large skillet over a medium (flame). Add the olive oil, onions, fennel and Herbs de Provence; cook until the vegetables begin to soften.
2. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes skins might get a little roasted before they start to plump and burst from the heat, but this contributes to the flavor.
3. When the tomatoes start to burst, add the minced garlic, stirring frequently, and adding a little of the broth to prevent sticking and burning.
4. Add the rest of the broth when most of the tomates have burst. Some might need to be helped along by pricking the skins with a sharp fork.
5. Cook the sauce until it begins to thicken, about 10-15 minutes. To make a richer sauce, add 2 tablespoons of butter at the end, turning up the heat and stirring until it’s fully melted and the sauce is bubbling.
6. If serving immediately, add the cooked pasta to the sauce and cook, stirring gently for a minute or two.
7. Serve into preheated pasta bowls and top with grated parmesan or robusto cheese.
Enjoy the virtual trip to Italy!