02 February 2009

Chestnut Pappardelle with Fresh Artichoke, Leek and Speck

It's all about comfort these days. When I saw a demonstration for a chestnut pasta recipe on my lunch time cooking companion, "La Prova del Cuoco", I knew it was in the cards to be made soon. I have begun to really love chestnut not having grown up with it and now finding them here in great abundance, I love discovering all sorts of ways to bring this naturally sweet ingredient in to my repertoire. Naturally I didn't have any of the ingredients for the recipe except for the pasta, chestnut flour, regular flour and eggs, but that didn't stop me. I used some of my seasonal favorites that I had on hand with good results. Round up the fresh artichokes, leeks and cured smoked ham and away we go....

Castagne Pappardelle con Carciofi, Porri and Speck
Chestnut Pasta with Artichokes, Leek and smoked cured Ham
Serves 6
For the Pasta
3 1/2c (350g) flour
1 1/2c (150g) chestnut flour
3 medium eggs, room temperature
1/2 (118 ml/g) cup water
pinch salt (optional)

Thoroughly combine the flours in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and place your eggs, water and a pinch of salt. With a fork (or a stand mixer works well) begin whisking the eggs and water to emulsify before gradually pulling your flour in. When it begins to take shape and becomes manageable, flour your hands and bring it all into a ball. Put the dough on a floured wooden surface or your counter top and knead the dough until smooth and pliable, adding flour or moisture if needed to get a smooth pasta. Knead for a few minutes to incorporate all. Cover with a damp towel. upside down bowl or cling film and let rest for 20 minutes before rolling out and cutting into desired shape.
Meanwhile make your sauce.
To roll out our dough, you may want to divide your it into 2 or 3 pieces to make the rolling out easier to manage, especially if you don't roll dough that often, or you have a small space in which to work.
Roll dough out into a large thin rectangle.

To cut into wide pappardelle, lightly flour the dough surface and roll each long end up towards the center so that you have 2 long rolled up logs of equal amounts. Cut your dough about an inch or so depending on your taste. I made mine slightly less than that. Cut systematically down the length of your tubes.
When you have cut all your dough, unroll your lengths and either hang up on a broom handle between two chairs or if you have the room on our table leave them unrolled to slightly dry before cooking. approximately 15 minutes. The short drying time helps keep the pasta from sticking together when you cook it.

Cook the pasta in a roomy pot filled halfway with salted water, just before the sauce is ready to serve.
Because it is fresh pasta, it will only take a very few minutes, depending on your thickness and preference.
Drain and toss into the sauce.

For the sauce
1-2 leeks, good sized, mainly the white part, sliced thin in half circles
1-2 garlic cloves minced
4 fresh artichokes, cleaned and trimmed of tough petals, sliced thin in half circles
white wine a splash or two
water, 1- 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
8 oz (200-300g) speck, sliced in batons, prosciutto crudo or ham may be substituted
Olive Oil
Grated hard grana style cheese( parmesan, romano) to finish over the top when served

Sauté the leeks, and garlic in a small amount of oil for a couple of minutes.
Add the sliced artichoke and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes making sure the mixture doesn't pick up any color.
Add the wine, and continue cooking till the wine evaporates.
Add the stock or water. Simmer covered till the artichokes are soft and the liquid has reduced.
Approximately 10-15 minutes.
Add the speck just before ready to add the cooked pasta, as it doesn't really need to cook, just heat through and soften slightly.
Adjust seasonings. Remember the speck or prosciutto and Parmesan will add a fair amount of salt, so go easy on the salt before tasting it with the ham.
Add your al dente pasta and mix to serve.
Grate fresh cheese and pepper on top of each serving.


Rowena said...

Scrumptious! It's been awhile since I made chesnut flour pasta and what better inspiration to get a move on in the kitchen. Now that I've had my chance at building C&C, it's spring that I'm waiting for!

Bella Baita Marla said...

Thank Rowena, I'm trying not to think spring, although it keeps creeping in uninvited!

Ruth Daniels said...

It looks wonderful. I do hope you plan on sharing some of your excellent pastas with Presto Pasta Nights.

Ivy said...

I wish I could find some chestnut floor. I can imagine how "sweet" the pasta dish must be.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I can always be assured to find delicious recipes and ideas over at Bella Betta View Marla:D

Bella Baita Marla said...

Oh Ruth, I'm such an inconsistent joiner. I will try sometime, as I know it is a fab event. Lots of great ideas for the eternal what's for dinner. Thanks for the invite.
Ivy, the chestnut flour is mixed so it adds a hint of sweetness that is a nice subtle addition. Perhpas I can send you some if you would like. Greece isn't all that far away, I just need and address. You could send it me over at Blogger aid if you want.
Thanks Val, encouragement and compliments are alwqys appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I always motivated by you, your thoughts and attitude, again, thanks for this nice post.

- Thomas

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