Pansotti al brasato e carciofi
We don’t throw anything away around here, if fact we sometimes make certain recipes with the intention of transforming them into another meal. This was the case with our “Passover” brasato. We have made handmade pasta for Easter lunch in the past, and since we have spent several Easters within the small nucleus of our family, I like the idea of it becoming something of a tradition. I’ve done the lamb, which is a tradition for most, but I am not crazy about the lamb here, it is a bit beasty, as my husband likes to say. I suspect that this is due to the fact the they aren’t selling lambs, but young sheep, two very distinct flavors, plus the thought of eating babies makes me sad, poor guys.
The pasta tradition could become a fun one as my little lady gets older. She likes helping mama in the kitchen and I love having her by my side. She was a big help kneading the dough, liked putting her little apron on, standing on a chair and getting her little paws dirty. When we tried to get her on the pasta rolling machine we eventually had to banish her to the TV room, we started having pasta disasters. Next time we will try with orecchiette, using only our hands, and no machines.
When she saw me first kneading the dough she said “oh! like zia Rosalba!” her teacher. I loved that she made the association of making food with your hands with school. I recently received pictures from her school of all of the kids making little pizzas. These pictures filled me with delight, what a great way to keep 2 and 3 year olds busy and to teach them about food. My mother-in-law does the same thing with my niece and nephew, if they are at her house for an afternoon, she keeps them busy with dough, making pizzette together, so much better than cartoons.
We have made these bad boys before, but I decided to add steamed artichoke hearts to them for a more delicate flavor. Artichokes are abundant at this time of year, every veggie truck is selling them for 2 or 3 euros for a “mazza” of 2o artichokes. I love artichokes and they were perfect with the brasato, adding a touch of spring to winter.
Pansotti al brasato e carciofi
Mario Batali’s Basic Pasta Dough from from Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano
- 2 slices of leftover brasato, shredded
- 2 steamed artichoke heart, pureed
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
- 5 large eggs
- water for sealing the pasta
- leftover braising liquid from the brasato for dressing the pasta
- grated parmigiano reggiano
For the pasta: Mound the flour in the center of a large wooden board. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs.
Using a fork, beat the eggs together and then begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well. As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). When half of the flour is incorporated, the dough will begin to come together. Start kneading the dough, using primarily the palms of your hands. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, set the dough aside and scrape up and discard any dried bits of dough.
Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 10 minutes, dusting the board with additional flour as necessary. the dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature before using.
When you unwrap the dough it will have softened – that is what you want, so do not be tempted to knead it into tension before rolling it out.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces, and wrap 3 of them again in plastic or just cover with a slightly damp kitchen towel. Flatten the piece of dough in a burger shape that is somewhat thicker in the middle and about ¼ inch thick at the edges. Set the rollers of the pasta machine to the widest setting. Dust the rollers with a bit of flour to be sure they are completely dry, and make sure there aren’t any bits of dried dough from last time. Using one hand, crank the handle to start the rollers, and feed the dough in with your other hand. As the flattened piece of dough emerges, catch it gently with a flat palm so as not to tear it. Fold the dough into thirds, flatten it slightly with your palms, and roll it out again. Repeat this process 5 times, then set the rollers to the next-thinnest setting and repeat the folding and process 6 times. At the third setting, repeat the process only 3 times, since the dough will be becoming more delicate. If the pasta sheet becomes too long to work with easily, cut it into 2 pieces and continue. As you work, dust the pasta sheet with a tiny pinch of flour only if it seems to be sticking – too much flour will dry out the dough. Roll the dough out through the progressively thinner settings, without folding it again, until you have reached the right thickness for your pasta. I have made the mistake of rolling it out too thin for a filled pasta and the pasta broke the moment it hit the water, we stopped at the 4 gauge on our machine. Do not pull the sheets of pasta out of the machine; rather, support each one lightly underneath as it emerges from the machine.
For the filling: Shred the leftover brasato with a knife and fork. Clean your steamed artichoke hearts and puree them with a food processor or by pressing them with a fork. Mix together in a bowl with the parsley until it is a consistent mix.
Assembling the pasta: I created the shape of the pasta with a biscuit cutter, creating lovely little half moons. This is a simple way to make them if you don’t have many gadgets. In each circle place about 1 tsp of the braised meat in the middle, dip your finger in water and brush on the edge of the form. Fold the dough in half and seal together by pinching the two sides together with your fingers. Lay them spaced apart, in a single layer on a floured tray. Repeat the entire process with the remaining dough.
Cook the pansotti right away, or refrigerate for a few hours, on the tray, sealed with plastic wrap. For longer storage, freeze them solid on the tray, then pack in freezer bags.
Fill a big pot with at least 6 quarts of water, 1 tbsp salt, and bring to a boil. Heat the leftover braising liquid in the meantime.
Cook only two dozen pansotti at a time. When the water is at a rolling boil, shake the excess flour from the pansotti and drop them into the pot. Stir well, and return to a boil rapidly. The pansotti will drop to the bottom, then rise to the surface; keep moving and stirring them so they cook evenly and don’t stick. Cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, and check to see if they are done, biting into the thickest edge of the dough.
When they are fully cooked, lift the pansotti with a spider, drain briefly, and spill them into the braising liquid, gently stirring and tumbling until they are well coated. Serve immediately.
One Year Ago: Puntarelle Pugliesi
Three Years Ago: Pastiera
Four Years Ago: Southern Cheese Biscuits