Saturday, May 12, 2012

Gabrielle Hamilton's Pasta Kerchief...

It really is such a simple dish — but aren't those usually the most devine?  While in New York City last week, we stopped by Prune to order this culinary delight (Prune's Buttered Brown Rice with Rock Shrimp and Pork Cracklings is amazing too).  House Beautiful even featured the Pasta Kerchief in their May edition with this beautiful photograph by John Kernick. 
For the pasta kerchiefs:

1 2/3 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

For the rest of the dish:

1 teaspoon cider vinegar
4 eggs
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 handfuls arugula and watercress, mixed
4 slices smoked cured jambon de Paris or other lightly smoked, dry cured ham
1/4 cup inch-long shavings Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Best quality balsamic vinegar, for sprinkling
Kosher salt
Coarsely ground black pepper


1.Place flour in a food processor, turn it on and add 2 egg yolks and 1 egg one at a time through feed tube. Mixture should have consistency of moist cornmeal. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Have 1/2 cup cold water ready. Add salt and olive oil; mix with your hands, squeezing dough through your fingers. Add cold water a little at a time, until a smooth dough forms; it should be between soft and stiff. Knead 10 minutes, then let rest, dusted with flour and covered with an overturned bowl, for 2 hours.

2.Using a pasta machine, roll dough, first on largest setting, folding it in half after each run through. Run it through at least twice on each setting, working your way down to thinnest setting, so that the sheets are 5 to 6 inches wide. It should get soft and silky without shredding on edges. Cut sheets about 10 inches long. Reroll any scraps. (This will make about 8 sheets, but you will only need 4; reserve extra for another use.) Layer sheets between pieces of wax paper or parchment. Cover with plastic wrap, and keep in refrigerator until needed.

Assemble dish:

3.Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a medium pan with 2 inches of water and vinegar; bring to a simmer. Gently crack 4 eggs into it, and poach until whites are just set. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a plate, and set aside in a warm place. Discard egg cooking water; add butter to same pan. Cook over medium heat until it begins to smell nutty and turn brown. Set aside. Warm 4 large serving bowls in a 175-degree oven.

4.Add 4 pasta sheets to boiling water, and cook for about 90 seconds. Using tongs, gently transfer each to a serving bowl, laying it across so that ends hang over edge of bowl. Roll each handful of greens in a slice of ham; using tongs, dip package in boiling pasta water for 2 or 3 seconds. Shake off excess water, and place on top of pasta. Repeat with remaining ham and greens. Place an egg on top of each, and fold pasta over. Quickly reheat butter, and pour a little over each bowl of pasta. Sprinkle with shavings of cheese, pine nuts and a little balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

YIELDS 4 servings

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