Photo by Donna Ruhlman
Summer is flying by too quickly and I’ve been buried in all the good things–work and family and friends and food. Ma was here and I showed her the Iron Chef show with Symon v. Bloomfield and she was so enamoured of Symon’s idea of putting a yolk inside pasta, I made some for her (above, on a bed of sheep’s milk ricotta I got from Paul Minnillo at Baricelli Inn, seasoned with citrus and espelette), served with a simple brown butter sauce. Sooo. Good . Yolk spills out into the butter. Then off to NYC to judge an Iron Chef competition, then back home on the 4th for Old Chicago’s on the grill at my Dad’s and fireworks viewed from the first fairway of a local course, then Pardus, my chef was here, for reasons I won’t reveal now, but we cooked a meal that is worth a blog post on it’s own. His visit of course required a two day restoration of the body and soul before work began again.
Yesterday I was with Symon as he was making some of his own egg-yolk-only pasta dough and he said something interesting that I’d never thought about. He made it very dry and scarcely kneaded it. I believe in kneading for at least ten minutes till it’s satiny smooth, but Symon believes that the key to great texture is in not creating too much of a gluten network (which happens by kneading) so he treated it practically like a pie dough. It makes sense. I don’t know if I’m willing to give up that satiny pasta dough, but it’s an interesting idea, and his ravioli were very tender. Is this a common thing? Not kneading? [I’ve since tested this and find that the all-yolk pasta does not need the kneading, whereas pasta dough with whole egg does require thorough kneading, which is part of the fun!]
For those of you wanting to try an egg yolk ravioli, they’re very easy. Marcella Hazan recommends a cup of flour and two eggs to make a pasta dough, mixed and kneaded till it’s satiny, about ten minutes. And of course there’s a Ratio for it! Three parts flour, 2 parts egg by weight; if you have the Ratio iPhone app, weigh your eggs, plug the weight into the ratio calculator to calculate the exact weight of flour you need, add it right on top of the eggs! (I love the Ratio app!) While it’s resting in plastic wrap in the fridge, mix into a cup of ricotta, citrus zest (any kind you like, lemon and orange are great, maybe a little juice), black pepper, espelette if you have it, some chives or minced shallot if you have it, kosher salt (and taste it for to make sure it’s delicious). Make a pillow on the pasta for the yolk, put a little cheese on top to protect the yolk, and fold the pasta over it, using water or egg wash to seal the pasta. Boil gently for a few minutes and serve with a brown butter and some julienned parsley. The yellow ooze is worth the effort.