Fresh Pappardelle with Sausage, Fennel and Ricotta
This recipe makes more pasta than you will need, so store the extra in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to a month, before serving it with your favorite pasta sauce or braised meat. The pasta will darken after several hours in the fridge as the eggs in the dough oxidize, but it is still good to eat.
For the pappardelle:
- 4 1/4 cups (17 oz./530 g) sifted all-purpose flour
- 14 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- Rice flour for dusting
For the sauce:
- 6 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 lb. (500 g) bulk Italian fennel sausage or fresh sausages,
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and julienned
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) dry white wine
- 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) diced shallots
- 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) chopped garlic
- 2 tsp. fresh thyme (optional)
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) chicken broth
- 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) (2 oz./60 g) unsalted butter
- 1 cup (8 oz./250 g) fresh ricotta, preferably Bellwether Farms
- 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) grated Parmesan cheese
To make the pappardelle, place the flour in a mound on your work surface and make a well in the center. Put the eggs yolks and whole eggs in the well. Using your fingers, begin to stir the egg yolks and egg in a clockwise direction, gradually incorporating some of the flour from the sides of the well into the eggs. Continue until you can no longer stir the dough with your fingers. At this point begin kneading to finish incorporating the flour into the eggs, adding a tablespoon of water if necessary to incorporate all the flour. Knead the dough until it is smooth and silky and springs back slightly when pressed with your finger, 12 to 15 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside to rest at room temperature for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Set up a pasta machine. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and wrap each piece in plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Remove the plastic wrap from 1 piece and flatten it into a rectangle thin enough to roll it through the pasta machine on the widest setting. Roll the dough through the pasta machine, adjust the machine to the second widest setting and roll again. Repeat the process, setting the rollers one notch narrower each time, until the pasta sheet is as thin as a driver’s license.
Cut the long pasta sheet into sheets about 10 inches (25 cm) long. Rub each sheet lightly with rice flour to prevent the pasta from sticking together and stack them together. Fold the pasta stack in half lengthwise and then in half lengthwise again. Using a chef’s knife, cut the folded pasta into strips about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) wide. Using your fingers, toss the strips to separate the layers and form individual noodles, then sprinkle with more rice flour and toss again. Mound the pasta in an airtight container and refrigerate while you repeat with the remaining dough.
To make the sauce, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Break the sausage into nickel-size pieces and add to the pan along with the fennel. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the wine, shallots, garlic and thyme. Cook until the wine is reduced by about half and the smell of alcohol no longer persists, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken broth and butter and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by about three-quarters, 3 to 5 minutes.
While the sauce is reducing, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Once the sauce has reduced, add 1 lb. (500 g) of the pappardelle—about two-thirds of the total—to the boiling water and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 2 to 3 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) of the cooking water. Add the reserved cooking water and the pasta to the sauté pan with the sauce. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a large serving bowl, top with dollops of the ricotta and the parsley and toss to combine. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Ari Rosen, Co-Owner and Chef, Scopa, Healdsburg, CA.