Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sing ho for the life of a bear.....

To business. Cooked up by the Gorgeous C....wild Irish mussels, in tomato sauce, with homemade tagliatelle.
In a word, superb.

Wow, that was weird. Formatting wise. Still. A double dish of sunlit deliciousness, eaten under the blazing sun of an all too rarely idyllic countryside.





Recipe. For the pasta, at least.

One of these is dead handy. In both life, and pasta making. This is an Imperia model, with slightly imprecise blades on the spaghetti cutter, annoyingly. Bought from Habitat. Still. Shiny and nice.

for the pasta dough

Roughly, 1 egg per 100 g of doppio zero pasta flour (Giorgio Locatelli recommends 500g of flour, 3 large eggs, plus two yolks, in the UK, a little drier in London than here methinks) - available from the best of Italy, or any good food store . In Irelands humid climate, I tend to use less egg than this. Make a volcano with the flour, sprinkle with a little salt, and crack the eggs into the well of the volcano. Using a fork, gradually break up the eggs and incorporate flour, a bit at at time, caving in the sides of the volcano as you do.

Eventually, the mix becomes thick enough to mix all the flour together. Working it into an elastic dough, as it begins to come together, stretch the top of the dough slightly, and pull it back towards you over the rest of the dough and press it in with the heels of your palm. Turn the dough often. Add flour as required, or, if the dough is too dry, dip your fingers in a bowl of water, and continue mixing. Repeat as required. After the dough has initially come together, work it with your palms for as little time as you can - too much stretching will break up the gluten.

Roll out the dough, to maybe a 1 inch thickness, and then clingfilm it, and allow to rest for 1 hour. Alternatively, cover it in a damp teatowel for the same time.

Cut up your dough into quarters (if using the Locatelli amounts), and roll it out into oblongs on a floured surface.

Your pasta machine should have two rollers with adjustable width - 1-5, 1 being the thinnest. Pass the dough through, dropping a setting each time you feed it in again.



For an extra smooth and perfect dough, double the pasta sheet back on itself twice, lengthwise, and pass through the same process, and, finally, redouble it twice, rotate the sheet 90 degrees, and pass it through again.

On the final pass, it's enough, for tagliatelle, to stop at the thinnest setting

Et voila.





For the mussels, clean them off with a good butter knife - something a little sturdy. The ivory handles silver service types that grannies are always laden down with seem to do the job properly. Simply, while holding the mussel in your left hand, cleanly chop at the base of any barnacles with the blade of the knife, carrying through and away from the mussel to make a clean lift. Quite gently, otherwise you'll crack open the shell of the mussel. Cleaning mussels is a lot like a good relationship. You gotta follow through when you're cleaning off the barnacles. I mant to stop at follow through, but it made no culinary sense.

This is extremely important. Extremely. Not doing this can kill your guests. And embarrass the hell out of the chef. If kept in water, any mussels that are open while submerged. Discard. They are dead, and busy building up toxins sufficiently virulent to ruin your day. After cleaning, put em back in water, and any that are open when you go to cook them, discard. Finally, any that don't open when you cook them. They're dead too. Discard em. If in doubt, throw it out. This batch was excellent, and we kept them all, but other batches I've ditched 30% from.

Each mussel will probably have a little straggly thread like clump poking out of the shell. Grip, and pull it out - easy to do by pulling upwards along the shell, following the shell opening, as it were.

Clean em, and plop the fresh and succulent little blighters in some water. Cook em up however you want.

The gorgeous (polkadotted) C did this with em....

6 comments:

Erin said...

Love reading your blog. This recipe looks really delicious. I have to buy myself a pasta maker!

Abulafia said...

Thanks. Few things more relaxing than pounding out a pasta dough.

lorraine@italianfoodies said...

Abulfia. We've done it again, my next post is pasta with mussels - great minds think alike. Mine's the lazy man's version with dried pasta. This looks delicious!

lorraine@italianfoodies

Abulafia said...

Cooking for a 30th birthday dinner this Saturday. Vegetarian, tomato free.

Thinking Asparagus on poached eggs with parmesan, mushroom ravioli, salad, leek crostini....

Eagerly awaiting the mussels recipe...

lorraine@italianfoodies said...

Sounds yum! How did it go?? Did you knock their socks off??

Abulafia said...

still waiting on the photos for that one. But the compliments flowed.....

will post more when Iget the photos....