The Pasta Issue from La Cucina Italiana magazine has arrived.  Victor has been poring over it looking for fun things to make – last year’s issue didn’t really do it for him – and found quite  few that he likes.  We’re going to be eating well!  The first thing he did was send away for a corzetti stamp from Fante’s.  The stamps date from the Renaissance courts of Liguria in northern coastal Italy around Genoa.  Coin-shaped corzetti pasta would be stamped with coats of arms and symbols representing holidays.  While the stamps would show ones prominence at court, they also have a practical purpose – the textures help capture the flavors of the sauce.

The recipe for the dough is a bit different than the one he normally makes.  This one called for a 1/2 cup of water.  It made for a bit of a stickier dough than usual, but he made up for it with flour for rolling.  Oh…  and we just happen to have Italian “00” flour.  If you don’t, use all-purpose.

Fresh Corzetti

  • 2 cups “00” flour – or all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup tepid water

Mix together flour and salt on counter.  Make a well and add the yolks and water.  Using your finger (or a fork) and slowly incorporate the egg, water, and flour.  Use a dough scraper to gather the dough up and form into a ball.  Sprinkle more flour on the board and knead the dough until it is smooth – about 5 minutes.  Cover dough and let rest about 30 minutes.  This is actually an important step. During the resting period, starch molecules in the flour are absorbing the liquid in the dough.  This gives the dough a thicker, more viscous consistency.  The gluten is also relaxing which helps create a thin and uniform structure to the dough.  And because the gluten had time to relax, the texture is delicate instead of chewy.

Divide dough into 4 pieces.  Roll pasta through machine starting at widest setting about 4 times, folding and turning dough each time, until it is smooth and the width of the machine.  Continue feeding dough though machine, decreasing the setting one notch each time, until about 1 1/2 millimeters thick – Victor went to setting three.

Dust pasta with flour and then, using corzetti cutter, cut out rounds.  When rounds are cut, use the corzetti stamp to stamp each coin individually.

Cook pasta in boiling water about 6-7 minutes.  Drain and immediately mix with sauce.

The pasta was time-consuming to make, but – WOW – what a great flavor and texture!  Looking at the size, they should have been heavy – but they were really light with a good tooth and great texture.

The magazine recipe called for a sauce with scallops.  Victor decided we had so much basil we needed a pesto sauce, instead.  Naturally, he was right!

Pesto with Sun Dried Tomatoes

  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 4 cups basil leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • S&P to taste

Toast pine nuts. Cool.  Add basil, pine nuts, and garlic to food processor.  Mix a bit and then add cheese, sun dried tomatoes, and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Mix well.  With machine running, slowly add olive oil.  Check for seasonings and ad S&P, as desired.

To pull the dish together…

Cook pasta and drain.  Cook green beans until barely done. (Cook with the pasta and save a pot.)  Add pesto to skillet.  Add pasta and green beans, along with a bit of pasta cooking water, and gently mix.

Serve with additional grated cheese and chopped fresh tomatoes.

This rocked on every level! The pasta was substantial but surprisingly light.  The sauce just screamed fresh-from-the-garden-goodness.  We not only cleaned our plates, but really cleaned them with slices of Italian bread to get every drop of sauce.  They were almost clean enough to put back in the cupboard!

This one is a keeper.