Celebrate National Pasta Day. Make Stars Pappardelle from Linda Miller Nicholson’s new cookbook

Happy National Pasta Day! Linda Miller Nicholson’s new cookbook, Pasta, Pretty Please, is the perfect playbook for indulging in a carb-lover’s favorite dish.  To whet your appetite, here is one of the many recipes that shine from this stunning plant-dyed pasta art cookbook. Known on Instagram as @SaltySeattle, Linda is famed for creating an array of pastas in every color and shape imaginable. This cookbook includes 25 colorful dough recipes, 33 traditional and modern shaping techniques, and 22 perfect sauce recipes for all your pasta creations—made using all-natural colors from vegetables, herbs, and superfoods.

Purchase a copy from your favorite retailer now and order an exclusive signed copy from her local bookstore, The Book Larder.

 

IMG_6356_sm (005)

STARS PAPPARDELLE

I’ve used various types of cutters to make shapes in pasta, and when feasible I prefer to use plunger-style cutters because they really save the tips of my fingers from burning clean off after I’ve cut out about two hundred of the same shape. If you have only a metal cookie cutter, it will certainly work, but plunger cutters can be found inexpensively at most cooking or craft stores as well as online. As with all the patterns in this book, you don’t need to cut the finished star sheets into pappardelle. Farfalle, lasagne sheets, or any other noodles on the larger side would also showcase this pattern well.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

Special Equipment

A star-shaped plunger cutter

1/2 batch dough (your choice of color, Green Pea Dough as shown)

Flour and semolina for dusting

1/2 batch dough (your choice of color, Cacao Dough as shown)

Kosher salt

 

  1. Choose which color of dough you want to be the background color for your stars and roll that dough to the third-thinnest setting on a pasta machine. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and place the pasta sheet on it. Using a star-shaped plunger cutter in any size you prefer, make star cutouts all over the sheet of pasta. I recommend spacing the star cutouts as close together as possible, because the sheet will get re-rolled and the stars will expand (doesn’t stars expanding blow your mind?). Cover this sheet with a kitchen towel. If you wish, save the tiny cutout stars to make pastina.
  2. Roll the second dough on a pasta machine until it is the same size as the sheet with the star cutouts. Uncover the cutout pasta sheet and moisten it slightly with a kitchen brush dipped in water or a damp paper towel. Taking care to cover the cutout sheet precisely, lay the newly rolled sheet over the cutout sheet. Use a rolling pin to sandwich the two sheets together, rolling both lengthwise and crosswise.
  3. Once you are sure the two sheets are sufficiently pressed together, use a bench scraper to carefully turn the pasta sheet over, revealing the star pattern. You may be able to make nips, tucks, and small adjustments at this point if you notice any bunching up of the pattern. Dust with flour as necessary to prevent sticking.
  4. Roll the sheet through the pasta machine again, starting on the widest setting. Reduce the rollers to the second-widest setting and roll the opposite end of the sheet through first this time. Alternating the sides of the sheet you put through the pasta machine will ensure that the stars don’t skew too much in one direction. Keep reducing the rollers until you’ve rolled the pasta sheet through the middle thickness on the pasta machine. Your stars will look wide! Don’t worry; we’re about to fix that.
  5. Lay the pasta sheet flat on your work surface and cut the whole sheet crosswise in 5-inch widths (or wider, up to the width of your pasta machine rollers). The star pattern has so far been skewed only side to side, making really wide stars, so now we’ll run the 5-inch sheets crosswise through the pasta machine, to stretch the stars back toward symmetry.
  6. Feed the 5-inch widths of pasta through the pasta machine crosswise this time, perpendicular to the direction you had been feeding them through initially. Watch the star pattern and stop sheeting at your desired thinness, depending on how stretched or skewed you want the stars. I suggest stopping at the second-or third-thinnest setting.
  7. Working with one sheet at a time, cut lengthwise strips 3/4 to 1 inch wide. Hang the noodles to rest on a pasta drying rack, dowel, or the back of a chair and repeat the process with the remaining pasta sheets.
  8. Let the pappardelle rest for 30 minutes hanging, then gently place them on a parchment-lined and semolina-dusted sheet pan. You can boil them at this point or wait up to 2 hours at room temperature before boiling. If you would like to cook them another day, after they are leathery to the touch and no longer sticky, store the pasta on a sheet pan covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Increase the cooking time by 1 minute if working with refrigerated pasta.
  9. Boil in salted water for 2 minutes, drain, dress, and serve immediately.

 

CACAO DOUGH

Rich Brown

Surprisingly enough, pasta made with the inclusion of cocoa powder has a longstanding, if not widely known, tradition in Italy. Historically, it was served with only dolce-forte or sweet and spicy sauce, because the strong flavor of the cocoa is difficult to pair with anything else. I use cacao instead of cocoa both because it’s healthier and because the flavor is subtle and on the cusp of sweet and savory, so the noodles are more easily paired with sauce.

Incidentally, chocolate in pasta existed in Italy before chocolate in dessert. Italians use chocolate in dessert only to adorn cakes, not inside of them, because the flavor of chocolate is considered too heavy for the lighter touch of Italian pastry.

This dough is remarkably easy to work with and is a striking shade of mahogany. You can add more or less cacao powder depending how deep you want your brown to be. The dough sheeted into pasta works very well with richer meat sauces, such as Pollo Agrodolce.

 

2¼ cups “00” pasta flour

2 tablespoons cacao powder

4 large eggs

 

  1. Combine the flour and cacao powder in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs and mix on low speed until a ball of dough forms. Continue to knead for 3 minutes, either by hand or in the mixer, so that the dough develops elasticity and silkiness. Cover the ball of dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before sheeting.
  1. Alternatively, you can let the dough rest for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. The color sometimes intensifies after that, although the dough is still usable for up to 3 days.

 

BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER DOUGH

Blue

Butterfly pea flower dough is a regal shade of unmistakable blue it’s hard to believe exists in nature, and yet it does. This recipe, like many in the book, is easily tweakable. You can adjust the hue as if on a sliding scale by adding a little bit of baking soda for a blue that veers toward green or a little bit of vinegar to get a more purple dough. I would not add more than ½ teaspoon baking soda or 1 tablespoon vinegar, because you’ll throw off the taste and texture, not to mention the ratio of ingredients.

This is a water-based dough for a reason. When you mix too many yellow egg yolks with butterfly pea flowers, you’ll wind up with a muddy, unattractive green-blue.

Butterfly pea flowers can be readily sourced online—Amazon has a constantly changing selection of vendors, so I usually purchase from the one that’s most highly rated at the time of my search.

 

1 cup boiling water

Packed 1/2 cup dried butterfly pea flowers

2¼ cups “00” pasta flour

 

  1. Combine the boiling water and flowers in a bowl and stir to make sure all flowers are submerged. Let steep for 10 minutes, then press the steeped mixture through a strainer directly into the bowl of a standing mixer containing the flour. Depending how well you pressed the flowers, you may need to add a touch more flour to this dough, as it can be on the sticky side. You may not need quite all of the steeped liquid, but be sure to reserve any extra by pressing it into a separate liquid measuring cup in case you do.
  2. Fit the mixer with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until a ball of dough forms. Continue to knead for 3 minutes, either by hand or in the mixer, so that the dough develops elasticity and silkiness. Cover the ball of dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before sheeting.
  3. Alternatively, you can let the dough rest for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. The color sometimes intensifies after that, although the dough is still usable for up to 3 days.

9780062674937_3700e

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: