Mains

Winter Rigatoni

March 2, 2017

 

Making pasta is the labor of love I hold dearest in the kitchen. I find joy in making a mess of flour and eggs on my board, strength in kneading the dough until it’s soft and developed, focus in rolling out the sheets, and magic in creating the shapes. So much less about the end product, making pasta is about the humble culinary journey; like anything made from grains, pasta is ultimately a vehicle for its accoutrements, so creativity in sauces and shapes abound and you never run out of things to learn.

Despite my romantic waxings, pasta is a thing that I rarely eat. I like to fill my tum with things that will fuel me well, and I’m no marathoner (despite my best efforts to find the elusive runners high…two halves later and I’m still pretty sure y’all are just makin’ shit up). When I do make pasta I make it colorful, keep the sauce light (alfredo is a G but our philosophies don’t mix),ensure that I have people to share it with, and hunt down a solid bottle of wine for the occasion.

My brother hooked ya girl up with a pasta extruder for Christmas and I’ve been chomping at the bit to try it while waiting for inspiration to strike. For whatever reason, I never want to christen a kitchen tool with a mundane task, so I’ve been mulling over a rigatoni dish for a spell, channeling my pasta-punk friend Shane Thomas’ flow, dreaming up something wintry that won’t send guests clamoring for a spot on the couch. If you’ve already got a kitchenaid and the extruder attachment, good on you and definitely give this dish a go!  If you don’t, aint no shame in that boxed game, but sign up for a pasta class in your area (aka call me if you’re reppin’ that NY Metro life), and discover how meditative the art of pasta is, and how satisfying the result.  I promise you it’s better than a green juice after yoga, and I’ll happily coordinate a spin-date with you the morning after!

 

Winter Rigatoni

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 4 as a main

Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cups 00 pasta flour
  • 10 brussells sprouts, leaves picked from the base
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 hunk parmesan for shaving
  • 15 ounces cannellini beans
  • 2 teaspoons chili flake
  • 1 bunch dino kale
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, pulled from the casings
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 sprigs rosemary

Instructions

  1. Measure out the flour and salt, roughly whisk them together, and dump them out onto a clean, smooth kitchen surface. Form a well in the center, with high walls on the edges. Whisk together the eggs and water and dump them into the well. (You can do this in a bowl if you’re nervous or averse to messes, I personally love them!)
  2. Using your fingers in a claw shape (it’s a messy but satisfying business), begin swirling the eggs around in the well, bringing a bit of flour in from each edge of the walls, making sure not to break the walls.
  3. Once you’ve incorporated enough flour to have a goo-ey ball (aka once the eggs won’t run away if the wall is broken), you can start to throw in bigger amounts of flour, cleaning off your fingertips, kneading the dough together.
  4. Once the flour is totally incorporated, knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it feels evenly combined, very smooth, and has a bit out bounce-back when a fingertip is pressed into it (this demonstrates that the gluten is developed, which gives pasta its tensile, gummy texture). If the dough feels a bit sticky, add a sprinkle of flour, kneading it in, until a fingertip pressed in releases without any stickiness. It takes a bit of trial and error, but it’s better to have a dryer dough go into the extruder than a wetter one. If the dough is way too dry and isn’t coming together, lightly wet your hands and continue kneading until it’s a soft, silky, bouncy ball. Divide the dough into two, form the halves into balls, flatten them into discs about 1” thick, and wrap them in plastic.
  5. Lay a lightly floured sheet tray under the extruder attachment, you can use AP or semolina flours here, no need to waste that precious 00!
  6. With the extruder attachment running at full speed, slice a bit of dough off, roll it into a ball (a hefty meatball size is a good place to start), and feed it into the dough hopper. Use the press to make sure it’s getting caught in the feeder and being pressed into the form.
  7. As you see the dough being pressed through the form, slice it off at about 1-1.5” sizes. Make sure to keep slicing, rolling and feeding balls of dough into the hopper as you go to keep a steady stream of noodles coming out. Shimmy the tray keeping the noodles in a single layer so they don’t stick or collapse.
  8. Once the dough has become noodles, lay a clean, dry dish towel over them and set them aside.
  9. Set a salted pot of water to boil and gather your mise en place for the accoutrements.
  10. Sautee the bread crumbs in 1t of olive oil until they’re golden brown, then set aside on a towel lined plate.
  11. In a large skillet over medium heat, sautee the rosemary in 2T olive oil until fragrant, removing it once you can smell it. Add the sausage in chunks, allowing it to caramelize on each side, shaking the pan around to find different points of contact. Once cooked through, remove it to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon, leaving the fat in the pan.
  12. Add the brussels leaves immediately, allowing them to soften and get a bit golden brown in spots. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, laying them on top of the sausage.
  13. Add the kale, along with 3T of the chicken stock to help the kale soften up rather than crisp up, and cover. Once the kale is soft, add the rest of the chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
  14. Once the broth is simmering, add the cream, whisk to combine, and allow to reduce for a few minutes, until it looks bubbly and a bit glossy.
  15. Add the brussels and sausage back to the pan as well as the beans, add 2t chili flakes and toss to combine.
  16. Add the noodles to the pot of boiling water, cooking them to al dente, likely only 1-2 minutes but keep testing them until they have the right toothiness. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the noodles to the pan with all the goodies and toss the whole lot together. If you’d like the sauce to be a bit saucier, add a bit of pasta water to the pan and crank the heat up, it seems counterintuitive but this thickens the sauce.
  17. Once you’re satisfied, plate the dish into a bowl and top it with the bread crumbs, another 1/2t of chili flake, and a hefty shave of parmesan. If your guests aren’t squeamish, have some eggs on the side ready to top their plate with a yolk. Serve immediately with a silky red!

Courses Dinner

Cuisine Italian

 

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