Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Farfalle con Salsiccia e Romanesco in Crema

This is a fun pasta to make as opposed to always using the packaged variety. Farfalle or "Butterflies" is a great pasta for a thick chunky sauce such as this one. This recipe combines the rich flavor of sausage and a fennel and brandy flavored cream sauce paired with the sweet nuttiness of romanesco(roman cauliflower). I love the look of romanesco which resembles a bunch of little Christmas trees all scrunched together to form one big Christmas tree. I cook the romanesco in the Roman tradition which is a blanch free method that keeps all that delicious flavor and nutrients still in the dish as opposed to being lost in the cooking water. If you cant find romanesco at your local farmer's market, you can substitute cauliflower.

TT = to taste

For Pasta:
3 1/2 cups semolina flour
5 lg eggs, room temp
3T extra virgin olive oil
1T salt

Make farfalle
Combine all ingredients for pasta dough
work together and knead for 5 minutes
wrap in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes
once rested cut into 6 pieces
keep all pieces covered while working with one of the pieces so the others don't dry out
Roll through hand cranked pasta machine kneading ten times through thickest setting (#1)
once kneaded roll through thickest setting (#1) three times
then drop down two setting to (#3)
roll through three times
then drop down two settings to (#5)
roll through once
Using a knife, trim pasta sheet into long strips that are about 2" wide
use a fluted cutter, and cut strips into about 3"-3 1/2" long
You should have rectangles around 2"x3" long with the shorter sides fluted edges and the longer sides straight edged
Take each piece and pinch the middle with one hand and with your other hand pinch the outsides tightly into the middle pinch part to form the classic farfalle shape
place on a parchment lined sheet tray dusted with flour
repeat with remaining pasta

For Condimento:
1 head Romanseco, cleaned and picked into florets
1# Italian Sausage, molded into several 3-4" thin patties & let come to room temp
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1T fennel seeds
1/4 cup Brandy
2 cups Half & Half, or heavy cream, or bechamel sauce
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
3T extra virgin olive oil
TT salt
TT black pepper

Heat the olive oil over high in a large saute pan
once smoking, add the sausage patties and allow to brown on one side really well
Turn patties over and quickly sear on other side only for 10 seconds or so.
remove patties from pan and lower heat to medium-low
add the romanesco and saute for 3 minutes
add the garlic, thyme and fennel and saute for 1-2 minutes
add the brandy, the cream & the sausage back to the pan
use a wooden spoon to break the sausage patties up into bite size pieces
slowly simmer sauce and reduced by half
season to taste with salt and pepper
Bring 6qts of water to a boil
add 2T of salt to the water
drop the farfalle in batches and cook until pasta floats for 30 seconds.
remove and add to the sauce and toss together
repeat with remaining pasta until it is all cooked off
add a little pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce
fold in half of the cheese
transfer to individual plates
garnish the plates with the remaining cheese
serve immediately

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