Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pepper Pasta with Brown Butter Walnut Sage Sauce

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I am continuing to post my party recipes and the thought processes that went into their selection and execution.  Recapping, I have already covered the Antipasto course (2 "party" Trays (Cured meats and Cheeses) and a plate of Bruschetta) ... Italian antipasto - Antipasto all'italiana.  Then yesterday I posted the first of two Primo courses (the first course, appetizer, starter course), a wonderfully unique Fennel and Blood Orange Salad.  All of that was especially easy as there was no cooking involved,  The Antipasto was set up before the guests arrived.  The salad was simply brought out of the marinade and put into a serving platter to pass.  So, today we are in a little bit more of a cooking mode as I made fresh pasta dough earlier in the day.  I will admit that I was showing off a bit as I used my pasta machine to make the fettuccine noodles right as the guests were getting tired of their Antipasto and were ready for the meal to start.

Once you get the hang of it, start to finish, cutting the fettuccine noodles, boiling them and making the brown butter sauce only takes 5 minutes.  Really, that's it.  BUT, practice before the party as the first time i tried it it took me lots more time.  If you want to show off, you need to look like a whirling dervish, multi-tasking and doing two and sometimes three things at once.  But the payoff was worth it as interested eyes watched the dough come out of the machine.

Be sure to read over my post on making your own FRESH PASTA - THE BASICS before proceeding...

OK, here are the steps to 5 minute sauced pasta...

First rule is PREP... I had everything Mis en Placed and ready to go.  the dough had only one step left before starting to boil (that was the dramatic step).

Once the 4 pieces of dough were processed into strips (less than a minute, as I had the dough already ran through the first two settings in sheets, dusted with flour and waiting for the final step of the fettuccine cutter).  Then, straight into the already boiling water.

Just before starting the pasta I had set up a LARGE Saute pan over medium high heat and started melting 2 sticks of Butter.  As the pasta was cooking, I added 1 Cup Walnuts (use walnut halves, NOT pieces) and about 1/4 cup of fresh minced Sage leaves.  It takes fresh pasta only about 3-4 minutes to cook.  It takes the Brown butter Sauce only about the same amount of time to soften the walnuts, and begin to darken.

Now, simply drain the pasta, VERY IMPORTANT- reserve 1 Cup of the pasta water.  Add 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan Cheese to the sauce just before mixing in the pasta, stir for a few seconds so the cheese melts into the butter.  Drop the pasta directly into the large saute pan that you have the sauce working.  Start turning to coat.  Add the pasta water to thin the sauce and make sure everything is well coated and Bingo Bango Bongo, fast as you can say Roberto is your Uncle... You have Pasta with a Brown Butter Sage Walnut PASTA!

I also made a slight change in the FRESH PASTA - THE BASICS,  I made a pepper pasta.  Again, once you have the basic recipe down I simply added about 3 heaping TBS of freshly grated PEPPER from my pepper mill to the flour prior to adding the eggs.  Simple enough and paired well with this sauce.

This all worked FANTASTIC for the party.  As I have been saying, they party was informal, lots of time visiting and not rushed at all.  Once word got out that the pasta machine was running, several of the guests wanted to watch to see what I was doing.  Dinner and a show.

This, combined with the Fennel and Blood Orange Salad together were a single course.  The Blood Orange salad was a bit unusual and I did not want to make that the only dish for the course.  So pairing this with the pasta worked well.

As to taste... Well, as expected, I did out of the 8 plates, there were two plates of the blood orange salad that had only about half eaten.

But, all 8 plates were practically licked clean as the sauce was unbelievably great tasting.  No nuts, no pasta, very little sauce... the plates were clean and the dish was a HIT!


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!


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