(Dressed with sautéed mushrooms, more herbs, and chicken stock.)
I am constantly looking for excuses to serve this. It is so much fun to make and wonderful to look at. It tastes great too which helps. This was the first course served at last weekend's dinner party in the 'Involtini' post below. The only fire in this one, sadly, is the gas hob, but it was too much of a special event not to post it.
I stumbled across this recipe years ago in a Time Life Italian cook book that has since been lost in various relocations between Australia and the UK. I have forgotten the name and regional origin of the dish, but I will never forget the recipe. The first time I made this I used a rolling pin (no pasta machine at the time). Watching an intricately shaped parsley leaf breaking into tiny pieces between two sheets of fresh pasta and growing to 5 times its size as I rolled it out was unforgettable.
For a starter for 4, mix three medium sized eggs with one cup of plain flour into a dough, then wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge for an hour or so.
Meanwhile, chop up a few good handfuls of whatever mushrooms you can get. This time I used Japanese shitake mushrooms and mini yellow chantarelles. Another couple of handfuls of chopped herbs are needed (I used parsley, dill and basil), as is 3-400ml of reduced chicken stock (either home made or shop bought – but definitely not with stock cubes!).
If you are using a pasta machine, work the dough into strips to thickness no. 5. Lay the strips out and carefully place individual leaves of herbs along one half (lengthways) and then fold the pasta over to create a long thin strip with the herbs sandwiched in between.
Re-work the folded pasta in the machine down to thickness no. 6 and cut into small squares before setting aside in layers between cling film on a plate. Dust each layer with a little flour to prevent them from sticking.
When ready to serve, sauté the chopped mushrooms in a mix of butter and olive oil then add half of the herbs. Boil the pasta squares for a couple of minutes in plenty of water then strain and serve them into warmed bowls. Dress them with the sautéed mushrooms, the remaining chopped herbs, hot reduced chicken stock and some finely grated parmesan cheese. The soft silky texture of the pasta combines wonderfully with the other rich and aromatic ingredients and makes a starter that both satisfies and makes you hungry for the next course.Once you’ve done this once, like me, you’ll be addicted.