CLASSIC pasta garganelli with peas and prosciutto
         

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Garganelli are generally made using fresh egg pasta. (But it also possible to get the garganelli shape in dry pasta). Two-inch squares of pasta are rolled over a comb to get a tube with ridges. (see more detailed instructions below). They make a wonderful pasta shape, ideal for sauces that are soft or have a cream component. This is one of those.



(the word garganelli allegedly comes from the latin gargula, which means a tracheal artery, but you really don't need to know that.)

for the sauce:

  • three tablespoons butter
  • one shallot, diced
  • four ounces of prosciutto, cut into thin strips, three-quarters of an inch long
  • one and one-half cups of peas, fresh or frozen
  • two cups heavy cream (or more if needed)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • one half cup freshly grated parmesan
  • two or three tablespoons fresh mint, torn into pieces

for the pasta:

  • one pound of garganelli (or penne varieties)

If using fresh peas, put into a saucepan with one-half cup boiling water, and cook until al dente. If frozen, have them thoroughly thawed.

In a saute pan over medium heat, add the  butter. Add the shallots and cook for one minute.

Add the cream  and cook over medium high heat until reduced by about half.

Bring 4-5 quarts of water to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt. Drop in the pasta and stir. Continue cooking until almost al dente  Reserve one cup of the pasta liquid. Drain.

Bring the sauce to heat again. Add the pasta to the sauce. Stir to coat, add the peas and prosciutto and cook for about two minutes, until the sauce coats the pasta thoroughly.

Add the parmesan, a half teaspoon of salt, several turns of ground pepper. Stir. Cover and cook over high heat for one minute to get steaming hot. Taste for salt and pepper.

Stir in the mint. Serve in hot bowls.

how to make garganelli (makes about one pound):

  • two and one-quarter cups of all-purpose flour (or "00") plus a little extra
  • one-eighth teaspoon sea salt (fine)
  • three large eggs
  • one-eighth teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • one teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt and nutmeg. Make a mound of the flour and then make a well in the center. Add the eggs, oil and nutmeg to the well. Using a fork, break up the yolks and then gradually incorporate the flour and the eggs with a circular motion with the fork around the inside of the well. Continue until all the of the eggs are absorbed in the flour. When you can remove the mixed dough in one mass, place it on a floured work surface, and knead, always pushing gently on the flour, until you have a smooth ball of flour that is evenly mixed. Usually about 6 - 10 minutes of good hand-crafted effort to get the right texture.

Put a wet towel over the pasta ball and let it sit for thirty minutes. Divide the dough into four pieces. Take one of the pieces, leaving the others under the towel to stay moist. Flatten the dough so that it can go through the pasta machine. Feed the dough through the widest setting of the machine at least four times, folding and turning the dough until you have a nice rectangle of flat dough not quite the width of the machine. Now run the flat sheet through the machine, one step at a time -- tightening up the width by one notch each turn. Do not fold the pasta from this point on. Continue through the setting as far as you can -- at least a 4, maybe a 5 on most machines.

Cut the flat sheet of pasta into two-inch squares. (incorporate the cuttings back into the pasta not yet rolled out). Lay a square diagonally on a comb -- yes, a comb -- so that one corner points to you, the other pointing away from you. Place a smooth dowel or smooth pencil on the dough, parallel to the comb. Take the point of the pasta near you (should be about one-quarter of an inch) and wrap it around the pencil, and then with gentle downward pressure, roll the pencil away from you and off the comb. This gives the pasta its ridges. Stand the pencil vertically and the finished garganelli will slide off. Put them on a dry, clean cloth, not touching! Do the rest of the squares and then repeat for each of the other three rounds of pasta dough. Should be used fresh, as soon as possible. If allowed to dry they tend to crack while cooking.

Rather than a comb, there are specific tools for creating the garganelli. There is a garganelli board, or a small loom-like instrument called a pettine.

 


 

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