This week, I decided to have a little fun with fresh pasta.
I made some farfalle using our fresh egg pasta sheets and a mini cookie cutter that I had purchased from Fante's cookware shop in the Philadelphia Italian Market. After producing a few odd-looking butterflies, I managed to gain some momentum. Before long I had noticed that a "swarm" of beautiful butterflies had emerged...and no two were exactly alike.
Isn't pasta wonderful? It may have been the warm sun shining through the window or the colorful tulips and daffodils in my garden. Whatever the reason, suddenly this little cookie-cutter became an instant ravioli die. Thankfully, I had some ricotta in the refrigerator. Poof...pasta primavera! Welcome Spring.
You can read more below about how I created these fun shapes. Also, I encourage you to grab some fresh pasta sheets and try this yourself. It was so much fun and really quite satisfying.
Keep the fresh pasta sheets covered with a damp towel or inside a plastic bag until you are ready to work with them.
Dust the excess flour off of the pasta sheets before cutting and sealing.
Fill a clean spray bottle with cool water. Lightly spray the pasta sheet on both sides to make it more pliable. Spray with more water as necessary.
Lay the pasta sheet on a clean work surface. Lightly spray each side of the pasta sheet with water to soften. This step is necessary to help the farfalle keep their shape. Using a circular cookie-cutter, press firmly to cut a small circle out of the pasta sheet. Then using two large sandwich picks bring two sides of the pasta to the center and pinch/seal it into place. If you are using a larger cookie cutter, you may be able to do this with your fingers. Cut the pasta circles closely together so that you get the most farfalle from each pasta sheet. Save any little scraps that you have from the project. These small pieces can be air-dried and then added to your favorite soup recipe.
Once the farfalle are formed, allow them to air dry for about an hour or overnight if preferred. This step will help the farfalle to keep their shape as well.
Recommended cooking time: approx. 3 minutes
Mini Flower Ravioli:
Lay the pasta sheet on a clean work surface. Lightly spray each side of the pasta sheet with water to soften. This step helps to make the pasta easier to work with and is necessary to help the ravioli to seal properly. Cut a strip of pasta wide enough to fold in half and to accommodate the cookie cutter that you are using. Use a pastry or zip bag to hold and dispense the ravioli filling. Apply a small portion of the filling on one side of the pasta strip. Lightly spray the pasta with water and then fold the pasta strip over to cover the filling. Press lightly and then position the cookie cutter over the pasta and around the filling. Press the cookie cutter down to cut the flower circle out. Squeeze each "flower petal" between your thumb and forefinger to tightly seal the ravioli. The ravioli can be cooked immediately or refrigerated/frozen for later use.
I arranged the ravioli on a plate. Using green onions/scallions for the stems. I also made fresh corn puree and red bell pepper puree to top the ravioli and decorate the plate.
Recommended cooking time: approx. 4-5 minutes
1 cup of Talluto's impastata ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano
Salt and Black Pepper, to taste
a few leaves of freshly chopped parsley and basil
FRESH CORN PUREE
1 Tbsp of Butter
Fresh corn kernels from 2 ears of corn
4 tbsp milk
the white portion of 2 green onions/scallions, roughly chopped
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a medium skillet and gently saute the onion and the corn. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Add the milk and allow the corn to cook for 1 minute until tender. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Add the corn mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.
RED BELL PEPPER PUREE
1 Tbsp of butter
1 red bell pepper, diced
the white portion of 2 green onions, roughly chopped
1 tsp all-purpose flour
4 Tbsp water
Salt and Black Pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a medium skillet and gently saute the onion and red pepper. Allow the peppers to cook for 2 minutes until tender and sweet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the flour and mix together to incorporate. Whisk in the water until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Add the red pepper mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth.
-Joanne Talluto Brown.