Monday, January 16, 2017

Linguine al fresco con Salsa di Pomodoro a Pancetta e Piselli

     Fresh Linguine Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Peas and Pancetta!
     When writing a menu, it is better to use the word "fresco or fresca" to designate fresh pasta.  This is because fresh pasta is hand crafted and it is a selling point.  If fresh pasta is noted on a menu, it also minimizes awkward moments when members of the wait staff communicate with guests.  Dried pasta can be cooked al dente and many customers specifically request their pasta order to be cooked this way.  Fresh pasta cannot be cooked al dente.  It is just boiled till the texture is firm.    
     There are a few traditional Italian pasta recipes that require Tomato Sauce and Peas.  Tomato Sauce with Peas, Prosciutto and Pancetta is sometimes called Pasta alla Roma (in the style of Rome) on a menu.  Pasta with Tomato Sauce, Peas and Pancetta is usually called what it is, because this is such a simple traditional combination.    
     There is a world of difference between American national brand deli style Pancetta and authentic imported Italian Pancetta (or hand crafted Italian American artisan Pancetta).  Real Italian Pancetta has a very rich dry cure pork belly flavor.  High quality Pancetta cannot be found at most grocery stores.  If you want today's pasta entree to taste like it should, then purchase some good Pancetta at an Italian delicatessen!  Be sure to tell the Italian deli clerk what you will be using the pancetta for and the deli clerk will slice the Pancetta about 3/16" to 1/4" thick.  Thick slices are easy to cut into traditional lardon shaped pieces.

     Salsa di Pomodoro Recipe:  
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     • Salsa di Pomodoro

     Pasta Dough:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.  
     *For lingine pasta, the pasta dough sheets should be rolled slightly thicker than average.  A thickness of 3/32" to 1/8" is good.

     Linguine Pasta al Fresco:  
     This recipe yields 1 large portion (or as many portions as needed).
     A combination fettuccine and linguine pasta cutter comes with most hand turned pasta sheet rolling machines.  This gadget attaches to the pasta sheet rolling machine frame and it has its own socket for the hand crank.  Making fresh linguine with this device is as easy as feeding a sheet of pasta into the linguine cutter while turning the crank! 
     It is easier to make a bunch of fresh linguine pasta, then divide the batch into portions.  Each individual portion is called a nest.  Since fresh pasta weighs the same before and after it is cooked, a single portion is easy to measure.  An average portion of fresh linguine is 6 ounces, while a large portion weighs 8 ounces or a little more.    
     Step 1:  Place the linguine side of the pasta cutting attachment on the pasta sheet rolling machine, so it allows the finished pasta to fall free over the edge onto a countertop. 
     Attach the hand crank to the linguine roller socket.
     Step 2:  Cut a few long sheets of pasta to 10" lengths or 12" lengths.
     Step 3:  Feed 1 pasta sheet into the linguine cutter at a time, while turning the crank.
     Move the cut pasta aside as it piles up, so it does not become compressed by its own weight. 
     Step 4:  Make single portion nests of linguine pasta on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.  (6 ounce to 8 ounce portions)
     Dust the piles of fresh pasta with a few pinches of semolina flour while gently tossing, to keep the pasta strands from sticking together. 
     Cover the pasta portions with a dry pastry towel or plastic wrap to prevent drying. 
     Keep the fresh pasta chilled till it is needed.

     Linguine al fresco con Salsa di Pomodoro a Pancetta e Piselli:
     This recipe yields 1 large portion.
     This recipe is very easy to make, when the tomato sauce and fresh linguine pasta are prepared ahead of time!
     Step 1:  Keep a pot of water boiling over medium high heat, so the fresh linguine pasta can be cooked later in the recipe!
     Step 2:  Heat a wide sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil.
     Add 1/4 cup of diced imported Italian Pancetta. 
     Sauté till the Pancetta turns a golden color.
     Step 3:  Add 1 1/3 cups of the Salsa di Pomodoro.
     Add 2/3 cup of thawed frozen peas.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Gently simmer till the pasta is ready
     Step 5:  Place 1 large portion (about 8 ounces) of the Fresh Linguine Pasta in the pot of boiling water.
     Briefly stir the pasta so it does not sick together.
     Boil till the pasta becomes firm and the pasta floats on top of the hot water.  (About 1 or 2 minutes.)  
     Step 6:  Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Add the pasta to the sauce in the sauté pan.
     Toss the sauce and pasta together.
     Step 7:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Mound the pasta on the center of a plate.
     *Use a long tine carving fork to gather and spin the pasta into a coil. Pull the fork out vertically to create a tall peak of pasta like the one in the photos.
     Step 8:  Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of finely grated Pecorino Romano Cheese over the pasta.  
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of finely chopped Italian Parsley over the pasta.

     The Pancetta gives this simple traditional Italian pasta a very rich aromatic flavor!     

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