MASTERING PASTA: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto

Marc Vetri, David Joachim Ed Anderson

Ten Speed Press

March 2015

$29.99/hardcover

ISBN: 978-1607746072

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Trained in Bergamo, Italy, by some of the region’s most noted chefs, Marc Vetri is the chef/owner of Philadelphia’s Vetri Ristorante, Osteria, Alla Spina, and Amis (named one of the top ten places for pasta in the country by Bon Appétit magazine).

Vetri has been profiled in the New York Times and Gourmet magazine and named one of Food & Wine’s Ten Best New Chefs. He received the Philadelphia Inquirer’s highest restaurant rating and won the James Beard Award for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.

He lives in Philadelphia, PA.

JoachimHeadshot

David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than thirty-five cookbooks, including the IACP award-winning The Food Substitutions Bible and the New York Times bestsellers A Man, a Can, a Grill and Mastering the Grill, co-authored with Andrew Schloss. He lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Visit David at: www.davejoachim.com.

MASTERING PASTA is a complete primer on artisan pasta-making from acclaimed Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri, featuring 100 of his favorite recipes.

Providing a deep exploration of Italy’s fascinating pasta traditions and detailed guidance for home cooks seeking authentic approaches, this comprehensive guide covers all the pasta basics along with risotto, gnocchi, and crespelle. From building doughs from scratch to pairing them with the ideal sauces and condiments for spectacular finished dishes, Vetri delves deep into food science and reveals the secrets of the very best pasta.

Red Wine Spaghetti with Crunchy Vegetables and  Roquefort

Makes 4 Servings

red-wine-spaghetti

This dish is a like a cheese plate in a different form. You get red wine, pungent cheese, and crunchy quick-pickled vegetables all at once. For the vegetables, you can switch the carrots to parsnips or fennel. Or use whatever vegetables you like.

PASTA SWAP: Red Wine Semolina Dough is a key flavor in this dish. But you could extrude the dough into linguine, fusilli, or rigatoni, if you like.

8 ounces (227 g) Red Wine Semolina Dough (recipe below)
Semolina, for dusting
1/2 cup (118 ml) water
2 tablespoons (30 ml) white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons (25 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (1.5 g) kosher salt
1/2 small clove garlic, smashed
1 black peppercorn
1/2 cup (36 g) small cauliflower florets
1/2 cup (50 g) finely chopped celery
1/2 cup (35 g) peeled and finely chopped carrot
2 tablespoons (21 g) finely chopped cipollini onion
2 ounces (57 g) Roquefort or Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)
3 ounces (85 g) speck or prosciutto, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fit your pasta extruder or stand-mixer attachment with the spaghetti plate. Set the extruder to medium speed; if using a stand-mixer attachment, feed the dough into the extruder in marble-size clumps, using a pushing tool to push the clumps through the extruder. The first few clumps may come out uneven; just throw them away. Continue gradually dropping marble-size clumps into the extruder and pushing them through, being careful not to overload it. As the pasta is extruded, cut it into 9-inch (23-cm) lengths and immediately dust it with semolina to prevent sticking.

Dry the pasta by placing it on wire racks that will fit in your refrigerator and refrigerate it uncovered for at least 8 hours or up to 4 days.  The pasta will get drier and harder as it sits. The texture is perfect after 2 days in the refrigerator.

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, garlic, and peppercorn in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Put the cut vegetables into a small heatproof container and pour the hot vinegar mixture over them. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate the vegetables for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.  Let the vegetables come back to room temperature before serving, 15 to 20 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the spaghetti and cover the pot to quickly return the water to a boil. Cook until the pasta is tender but still a little chewy when bitten, 4 to 5 minutes. The pasta will lose some of its red color.

Using a spider strainer or slotted spoon, drain the pasta by transferring it to a large, deep sauté pan. Reserve the pasta water. Stir in the Roquefort, speck, and 1 cup (237 ml) of the pasta water. Toss until the sauce reduces slightly, gets creamy, and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Keep the pasta moving until pasta and sauce become one thing in the pan. Taste it, adding salt and pepper until it tastes good to you.

Dish out the pasta onto warmed plates. Using a slotted spoon, top each serving with some of the crunchy vegetables, leaving behind the garlic, peppercorn, and pickling liquid.


Squid Ink Linguine with Uni and Crab

Makes 3 or 4 Servings

squid-ink-linguine

Uni (sea urchin) has an incredible texture. It makes a creamy sauce and almost behaves like fat in a dish, even though it’s actually pretty low in fat. But you have to be careful: as with fat, too much is not a good thing. Look for West Coast uni; it’s bigger and creamier than East Coast uni.

PASTA SWAP:Spaghetti or bucatini would be good, but keep it flavored with squid ink. The black pasta and orange sauce help make this dish what it is.

12 ounces (340 g) Squid Ink Semolina Dough (recipe below)
Semolina, for dusting
16 pieces cleaned uni (about 10 oz/283 g or 3/4 cup)
6 tablespoons (90 ml) olive oil
3 tablespoons (28 g) peeled and minced carrot
3 tablespoons (20 g) minced celery
3 tablespoons (32 g) minced yellow onion
3 ounces (85 g) jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over to remove any shells and cartilage
2 tablespoons (6 g) chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fit your pasta extruder or stand-mixer attachment with the linguine plate. Set the extruder to medium speed; if using a stand-mixer attachment, feed the dough into the extruder in marble-size clumps, using a pushing tool to push the clumps through the extruder. The first few clumps may come out uneven; just throw them away. Continue gradually dropping marble-size clumps into the extruder and pushing them through, being careful not to overload it. As the pasta is extruded, cut it into 9-inch (23-cm) lengths and immediately dust it with semolina to prevent sticking.

Dry the pasta by placing it on wire racks that will fit in your refrigerator and refrigerate it uncovered for at least 8 hours or up to 4 days. The pasta will get drier and harder as it sits. The texture is perfect after 2 days in the refrigerator.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the linguine and cover the pot to quickly return the water to a boil. Cook until the pasta is tender yet firm, 4 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash the uni in a mortar with a pestle or process in a food processor until  coarsely pureed. Heat the oil in a large, deep sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the carrot, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 seconds.

Using a spider strainer or slotted spoon, drain the pasta by transferring it to the pan. Reserve the pasta water. Add the uni, crabmeat, chives, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup (118 ml) of the pasta water to the pan and toss and stir until the sauce reduces slightly, gets creamy, and coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Keep the pasta moving until pasta and sauce become one thing in the pan. Taste it, adding salt and pepper until it tastes good to you.

Dish out the pasta onto warmed plates.


Extruded Semolina Dough

Makes About 1 Pound (454 G)

This dough is just semolina and water. The trick is to get the dough to the consistency of damp sand. Between 25 and 30 percent hydration is ideal for most pasta extruders. That means that the weight of the added water is 25 to 30 percent of the weight of the semolina. Dough with this hydration level was tested successfully on several professional and consumer pasta extruders. The smaller machines are less powerful, so they need a little extra water to help the dough get through the extruder. Once the pasta is extruded, you can dry it in the refrigerator or with a humidifier and some heat. As with my basic fresh pasta dough, the total weight of the mixture weighs more than a pound, but after mixing, extruding, and drying, the recipe yields about 1 pound (454 g) of usable pasta.

1/2 cup to 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (118 to 142 ml) cold water
2 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (475 g) semolina, plus some for dusting

Refrigerate the extruder plate for 1 hour before extruding. Refrigerate a stainless steel mixing bowl as well. When both are chilled, put the semolina in the bowl and start mixing with a fork, spoon, your fingers, or a machine. Slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup (118 ml) of the cold water. Mix for 10 minutes, then refrigerate the mixture for 15 minutes so it can fully hydrate without warming up too much. If using a stand mixer for extruding, stir the chilled mixture by hand for another 10 minutes. If using a combo pasta mixer-extruder machine, put the chilled mixture in the machine and mix in the machine for another 10 minutes. After mixing, the mixture should resemble damp sand rather than come together in a ball of dough. Pinch a little between your fingers; it should stick together when pinched. If it doesn’t, add a little more cold water, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, just until it can be pinched into clumps here and there. The amount of water you need to add depends on the humidity in the air. On dry days in the winter, you may need to add more water. On humid days in the summer, you may need less water. The mixture should look very dry—like clumpy, buttered bread crumbs. Too dry is better than too wet; if the dough is too wet or too warm, it will stick in the machine and gum up the works. If using a stand-mixer attachment, you will need to add slightly more water than if using a more powerful extruder. At this point, you could cover and refrigerate the dough for up to 1 day.

Fit your pasta extruder or stand-mixer attachment with the chilled extruder plate needed for your pasta shape. If using a pasta extruder, set it to medium speed. If using a stand mixer, with the machine running on medium speed, feed the dough into the hopper in marble-size clumps, using a pushing tool to push the clumps into the auger, being careful not to overload it. As the pasta is extruded, cut it into the lengths appropriate for the recipe you are making and immediately dust the pasta with semolina to prevent sticking. If the pasta does not extrude easily, gradually mix more water into the dough 1 tablespoon at a time.

Dry the pasta by placing it on wire racks that will fit in your refrigerator (coil long pasta like spaghetti and bucatini into nests) and refrigerate it uncovered for at least 8 hours or up to 4 days.  The pasta will get drier and harder as it sits. For most recipes, the texture is perfect after 2 days in the refrigerator. Two-day-old pasta will cook in about 4 minutes in salted boiling water.

For drier pasta that keeps a little longer and has a little more bite, you need more heat and humidity. You can set up a small room humidifier, put a large milk crate over the humidifier, set your pasta rack on the crate, and then cover the whole thing with a cardboard box to trap the humidity. I’ve used this method to dry short shapes like rigatoni with 75 percent humidity at room temperature (about 70°F/21°C). It takes about 36 hours, but then the pasta can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for 4 to 6 weeks.

Farro Semolina Dough:

Farro has a protein content similar to durum wheat semolina. This dough tastes best with freshly milled farro. Just grind farro as you  would whole wheat flour  and sieve it so that it is pretty fine—a little finer than the semolina—or, to be exact, through a #35 sieve. It’s a great dough for a hearty meat ragù.

Mix 1 2⁄3 cups (200 g) farro flour, 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (200 g) semolina, and ½ cup (118 ml) cold water as directed in Extruded Semolina Dough. Makes about 1 pound (454 g).

Lorighittas Semolina Dough:

Lorighittas are Sardinian pasta shapes formed by twisting spaghetti into small rope-like rings.  The dough calls for a little more water so that it can be easily twisted by hand. Follow the directions for Extruded Semolina Dough but add 2⁄3 cup (158 ml) cold water. Makes about 1 pound (454 g).

Red Wine Semolina Dough:

This dough comes out bright red and slightly acidic from the wine. The color dulls a little when the pasta is boiled, but the wine flavor remains. Pair this dough with any sauce that goes with red wine. Pour 1 1/4 cups (296 ml) dry red wine into a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the wine until reduced by about half (about 2⁄3 cup/158 ml). Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Use in place of the water in Extruded Semolina Dough and proceed as directed. Makes about 1 pound (454 g).

Saffron Semolina Dough:

Here’s a recipe for the most aromatic, golden orange dough you’ve ever seen. It’s an amazing partner for fish and vegetables. Steep 3/4 teaspoon (0.6 g) saffron threads in 1/2 cup (118 ml) water overnight. Use in place of the water in Extruded Semolina Dough and proceed as directed. Makes about 1 pound (454 g).

Squid Ink Semolina Dough:

You want black dough? You got it. More important, you get a briny, mineral-like taste of the ocean that goes perfectly with seafood sauces. The ink stains everything, so handle it carefully (don’t worry, it’s not permanent ink so your hands, pasta machine, and counter- top will come clean). Mix together 2 tablespoons (30 ml) squid ink and 1/2 cup (118 ml) cold water. Use in place of the water in Extruded Semolina Dough and proceed as directed. Makes about 1 pound (454 g).

Sweet Pea Semolina Dough:

I love this dough with lamb sauces. The sweet flavor of fresh green peas and the bright green color make lamb taste even more delicious. Blanch 1/2 cup (73 g) shelled green peas in boiling water until  they are tender, about 1 minute, and then transfer them to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Transfer the peas to a kitchen towel and pat them dry. Combine the peas and 1/2 cup (40 g) packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves in a food processor or blender, turn on the machine, and drizzle  in just enough cold water for the mixture to puree to the consistency of heavy cream. The puree should be bright green and measure about 1/2 cup (118 ml). Use in place of the water in Extruded Semolina Dough and proceed as directed. Makes about 1 pound (454 g).

Whole Wheat Semolina Dough:

The extra bit of chew you get here from the whole wheat flour goes well with shellfish. An unlikely couple, I know, but try it for yourself in Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Olive Oil–Braised Octopus (page 168). Combine 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (317 g) semolina, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (135 g) whole wheat flour, and 1/2 cup (118 ml) cold water and proceed as directed in Extruded Semolina Dough. Makes about 1 pound (454 g).


 

These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from MASTERING PASTA by Marc Vetri and Dave Joachim. (Ten Speed Press; March 2015; $29.99/hardcover; ISBN; 978-1607746072).   http://crownpublishing.com/imprint/ten-speed-press/

Contact: Kristin Casemore
510-285-2944
kristin.casemore@tenspeed.com


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