Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fresh Croxetti Pasta with Black Olive, Basil and Pine Nut Oil

CroxettiColorwSauceFinalOriginalWatermark
Croxetti ~ Thick

A Ligurian specialty dating back at least to the Middle Ages, croxetti (also known as corzetti or curzetti) are hand-stamped pasta coins imprinted with noble insignia, as well as an equally distinctive design on their reverse sides. 

Although fairly obscure in the marketplace where you can nonetheless find them dried in cello bags imported from Italy, they are rarely crafted fresh in the home kitchen.  This is hardly for lack of allure nor a perception that they are intimidatingly difficult to prepare, but the ever greater obscurity of tracking down the essential stamping tool* for without which croxetti would be plain, round discs of noodles.  While I am not one to snub the plain, there is something fascinating about the historical intrigues of the designs, not to mention how those textures get a good grip on the sauces that are ladled over them. 

Since this was my inaugural attempt at homemade pasta, I didn't possess particular confidence in my ability to finesse a recipe.  So much was my uncertainty that I second guessed what the results of my first batch were supposed to be, putting them aside to prepare another round of rounds, rolling them slightly thicker.  While the egg-dense flavor and tooth of the later were hearty and comforting in the way that spƤtzle is, it was the thin, fragile, and translucent disks that were transcendent when shimmering in a slick of olive oil infused with basil and garlic, studded with bits of cured black olives and toasted pine nuts.

The choice is yours, of course, but you could always flip a coin.


CroxettiStampFinalOriginalWatermark72
*Ancient Roman-Designed Croxetti Stamp from Fante's. (This post was not sponsored.)


Fresh Croxetti Pasta with Black Olive, Basil and Pine Nut Oil - My own recipe using a basic egg-to-flour ratio for the pasta.

Serves 2 generously as main course.

Ingredients for Pasta

1 cup 00 Italian flour or bleached all-purpose flour (I used the later)
2 large eggs, room temperature

Method

Mound the flour on a clean, smooth counter of at least 4 square feet.  Indent the center of the mound with the bottom of your measuring cup to create a well.  Make the well wide enough so that two eggs can share the space without topping the sides of the well. 

Crack eggs into well.  With a fork, beat the eggs until they are fairly well smooth without yolk streaks.  Incrementally draw some flour from the bottom inner edges of the well into the beaten egg.  Work quickly with a light touch.  Do not worry if some of the egg runs away.  Simply toss a bit of flour over it and draw it back in.  Once most of the wet is absorbed, begin tossing the mixture with your fingertips until it comes together in a ragged, elastic ball.  Depending on size of eggs and humidity, you may need slightly more or less flour.  If the dough is too sticky, draw in more flour; if it dries quickly, do not incorporate the last of the flour.  When erring, it is better the dough be slightly moister than drier for easier rolling.  

Lightly flour your working surface, kneading dough for about 8 minutes or until it is very smooth.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest for at least an hour.  Do not refrigerate.

Clean your work surface of bits of flour and dough before lightly flouring it again. Ensure your rolling pin is dusted with flour. Turn dough out on surface and carefully roll and press-stretch the mass away from you for a few passes.  Do not be zealous; you must take your time and not over stretch.  Quarter turn the rolled dough in either direction (maintaining that direction throughout) and continue to roll and turn until you are back at your beginning point.  Carefully tuck your relaxed hands (palms downward) underneath dough to lift it off surface and let it gently stretch just a bit. (You can do this without tearing it if you only lift it enough so that gravity will work for you rather than against.)  Lay it back on surface and resume rolling-stretching-lifting technique until the dough is approximately 1/16 inch thick.  If the dough sticks to itself or the rolling pin, gently pull it off, pressing with fingertips to patch it, then lightly flour again.  If you prefer thicker croxetti, roll to 1/8 inch thick.  Here is a primer in traditionally hand rolling pasta.  If you are using a crank roller, please consult its manual for best method.

To cut and stamp your croxetti, this tutorial will provide you with most of the steps.  N.B. - You must either flour each dough disk or each stamp element before every single stamping, particularly if your dough is moister.  This will prevent frustrating sticking.

You can either cook the pasta immediately after stamping (5 minutes in boiling water) or allow it to dry for at least 4 hours on a flat surface. Be aware that they will slightly curl or buckle as they dry.  Boil pasta an extra 1-2 minutes if using dry.

Black Olive, Basil and Pine Nut Oil - My own recipe

1/3 cup strong virgin olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
Handful fresh chopped basil
Handful pine nuts
1 teaspoon dry white wine
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Grated Parmesan

Method

In a small bowl mix oil, garlic, and basil.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, toss pine nuts until they are lightly toasted.  Turn heat off to cool pan slightly for a few minutes.  Add oil mixture (it will sizzle).  Resume heat to low and gently warm.  Add wine (it will also sizzle, but not spatter), then stir in red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.  Pour oil over just-drained hot pasta and serve immediately with grated Parmesan on the side.

ThinCroxettionMetalPlateFinalOriginalTifWatermark72
Croxetti ~ Thin and Dried



15 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Something I have never heard of before today... Those pasta look ever so pretty (cute stamps) and original! I love their shape. I wish I could taste your dish right now.

Cheers,

Rosa

bellini said...

What fun to discover this pasta. I was given a pasta roller for my KitcheAid for Christmas but have yet to had the confidence to make my own pasta. That does need to change of course.

Anu Shoj said...

interesting and yummy recipe...
Anu's Healthy Kitchen - Barley Uttapam / Pancake

Simona said...

I just thought about this: I will ask some of my Italian friends about getting a stamp or two there. I have not seen them, but this probably has to do with geography, as pasta shapes are very local and sometimes you travel a village over and things are totally different. Your croxetti look beautiful and I like the sauce you chose for them. I am also so pleased that I nudged you: I hope this is just the beginning of your pasta-making adventured. Thank you so much for contributing to Pasta Please. The roundup will be up shortly.

Paz said...

Very cool -- your pasta!

Lynne Daley said...

A very lovely pasta dish! I've never seen this shape before! the simple colorful sauce seems to be a perfect fit! KUDOS!

Susan said...

Rosa - Thank you!

Val - I'd been thinking about a pasta roller, but thought to try traditional hand rolling first. I may invest in a roller, but my kitchen is already awfully cramped. LOL!

Thank you, Anu.

Simona - Thank you. You have, indeed, given me the nudge. : )

Hi, Paz! Thanks!

Lynne - Thanks. I've seen thicker, pesto-type sauces for croxetti, but I wanted something that didn't hide the gorgeous design.

Mints! said...

Susan, that pasta looks absolutely gorgeous and tempting.

Claudia ~ Food with a View said...

How very beautiful! I made some home-made pasta as well the other day together with my little godchild. She liked it a lot, and I will keep those stamped noodles of yours in mind for the next round of making pasta with kids (I am shure kids are thrilled with the process of stamping).

Apu said...

They look amazing Susan!

Nusrat Azim said...

How cute ! How crafty ! How pretty ! How yum !

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Great entry Susan. They really look too good to eat. They are a thing of beauty!

Sapana Behl said...

nice recipe.
glad to follow you
http://cookingwithsapana.blogspo.,com

SallyBR said...

Amazing! I've never heard of it until now, and I thought I knew a lot about food and pasta ;-)

always glad to learn something new... very interesting recipe, now I am wondering about the texture and taste

Cynthia said...

It is always an education and a pleasure visiting your blog (when I can). Enjoyed everything in this post.

Sorry for not having taken part in BWW for months now. Just been swamped with an added teaching load and deadlines for pleasure things - like BWW - have had to take a back seat. I do enjoy the round-ups though and when I can, still post something on BW blog. Hoping to get back to it sometime.

Keep well.