Monday, 23 January 2012

Homemade pasta and pork ragù





 Pasta recipe
(from the River Café cookbook)

Makes about 1kg which serves 8
500g Tipo '00' flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp sea salt
4 large free range eggs
6 large free range egg yolks
50g fine semolina flour for dusting

Put the flour and salt into a food processor, add the eggs and egg yolks, and pulse-blend with a dough hook until the pasta comes together into a loose ball of dough. Knead the dough on a flat surface lightly dusted with semolina and a little extra flour, for about 3 mins until smooth. If it is very stiff and difficult to knead then you may have to put it back in the processor and add another egg. Cut the dough into eight pieces, briefly knead into balls, wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 20 mins.


Set your pasta machine on the widest setting. Flour the work surface and push each piece of dough through the rollers 10 times, folding the sheet into 3 each time then turning it by a quarter and pushing it through the rollers again. This introduces air into the dough and stretches it to develop the texture. After 10 folds the pasta should feel silky. Only then reduce the setting gradually down to thin, as required. You should achieve long sheets, cut them in half if they become too long to handle.


To cut tagliatelle, dust the sheets with flour and while they are still pliable fold each one loosely over and over again on itself until the whole sheet has been folded into a long, flat rectangular roll. Using a knife, cut the rolls across into ribbons, using both hands with fingers apart to lift and separate the ribbon rolls. Or if you have a cutter on your machine put your pasta through the widest setting, make sure your surface is well dusted with flour or they will stick together.

Always cook fresh pasta in a large thick bottomed saucepan three quarters full of water with 1-2 teaspoons of salt. Cooking times vary with thickness but it should take around 4 mins.

Pork ragù

This recipe is from the restaurant Maialino in New York where I spent an evening learning about Italian food and tasting most of the menu. The pork is delicious and so soft after slow cooking, it's a simple dish and as one of the girls that I had over for dinner said "mmmm it melts in your mouth"

serves 8

1 pork shoulder with bone about 7lbs
1 large white onion, chopped roughly
1 large bulb fennel, chopped roughly
2 sticks celery, chopped roughly
Fresh thyme sprigs about 4 or 5
5 tbsps unsalted butter
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
large handful fresh chopped parsley
5 tbsps parmesan shavings 

Using a sharp knife take the skin off the top of the pork leaving a sheen of fat still covering the meat.
Preheat the oven to 160˚

Place the saucepan or le creuset over medium heat and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. gently cook off the onion, celery and fennel for about 10 mins until they are soft but not coloured.

Add the stock and thyme and bring to simmering point. Rub the pork all over with a little salt and pepper and place the pork in so that it is almost covered with the stock then put in the oven with a lid on for around 2 hours until the meat just begins to pull away from the bone.

Leave the meat and broth to cool in the pan for around 30mins to an hour or until you can touch the meat with your hands and gently pull the meat off the bone. Tear the chunks into bite size shreds and put in a large bowl.



Strain the liquid into a separate bowl and then pour the liquid over the meat, if using the next day then store in the fridge as it is.

Place a large saucepan on medium heat and add the pork and braising liquid. Bring to the boil and then turn down to gently simmer until the liquid has reduced by about half. Add the butter and stir to emulsify.

Now boil your pasta, and when it's ready add to the sauce with a splash of the pasta water. Simmer for a minute then add the lemon juice, half the cheese and parsley along with a tbsp of olive oil and some seasoning.

Serve immediately topped with rocket and the remaining cheese.

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