Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Four months until Christmas and I already have one thing on my list. Melanie Dunea is publishing a sequel to My Last Supper. A few years ago, my boss gave me a copy for Christmas which inspired me to start Project Last Supper. Sadly, it went by the wayside. But recently, my husband asked me what ever happened to my little pet project. An innocent question turned into my new personal challenge: bring life back to project last supper... and maybe, just maybe, start a sequel when the new book comes out.
I flipped though my notes from what I'd done and what chefs I had left. Could it be that I had neglected to prepare the last supper of Mario Batali?? His wish list numbered 8 items - I chose 3 to make it a reasonable meal. I did his very own recipe for mozzarella en carozza, his grilled lobster with limoncello vinaigrette and this one: Flat pasta with shrimp and zucchini. It's as pretty as it is tasty. I took advantage of the season and used yellow zucchini from my local farmer's market and purple basil from my own yard. Add the green of the basil in the pasta and the gorgeous pink shrimp and this dish is a beauty.
We'll see if I can keep making progress. If I do, perhaps a copy of Dunea's new book should be my reward (smile!)
Flat pasta with shrimp and zucchini
Adapted from Molto Italiano by Mario Batali
2 bunches basil
4 cups cake flour
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick half-moons (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
2 cups dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound rock shrimp, or medium shrimp, peeled
1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into chiffonade
Freshly ground black pepper
MAKE THE DOUGH
Bring a pot of water to a boil and fill a bowl with ice cubes and water. Blanch the basil in the boiling water for 10 seconds, then refresh in the ice water. Drain and chop finely; you should have 1/4 cup. Make a mound of the flour, then make a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well, pour the milk over and add the basil. Using a fork, stir the egg mixture slowly into the four ingredients to form a wet dough. Add the grated cheese and, working now with your hands, bring the dough together and knead for 8 to 10 minutes to form a smooth dough. Allow to rest for 15 minutes covered with plastic wrap.
Set up a pasta rolling machine and cut off a piece of pasta dough the size of a tennis ball. Roll the pasta through the rollers on the widest setting, then fold it in thirds and run it through again on the same setting. Repeat this three times, being careful to add very little flour, as it will dry out the pasta. Run the pasta through the next two thinner settings. It should be quite thick.
Lay a sheet of pasta onto a floured cutting board and use a knife to cut crosswise into 1/3-inch strips. Lay the cut noodles on a kitchen towel and cover with another towel. Roll and cut the remaining pasta the same way.
MAKE THE CONDIMENT
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat 6 tablespoons of the oil and the garlic over medium heat until the garlic is light golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the zucchini pieces and cook until just soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the pepper flakes, wine and butter, then bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and remove from the heat.
Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until tender, yet al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain and toss into the pan with the shrimp and cook over high heat until the shrimp are just done, about 1 minute, and pasta and sauce are well combined. Add the parsley and toss in the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil. Pour into a heated bowl and serve with plenty of freshly ground pepper.