Simple and great ingredients is the secrete to this recipe.  A really straightforward pasta dish that was really melt in your mouth delicious. Wagyu short rib meat that I had ground up from the local butcher. I made a basic meatball with the shortrib meat and then stuffed it inside a homemade fennel pasta.  I made a black truffle sauce from bordelaise I had from a previous dinner. I simply cooked the pasta and tossed the tortelloni in sauce.  I placed all of it on top a fennel puree for a little added creaminess.  This was an amazing pasta that everyone couldn't get enough of.  This is one of the dishes I served Jim Belushi and Company during a recent dinner party.  I Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Wagyu short rib meatballs
2 lbs boneless wagyu short ribs ground
1 cup finely grated Parmesan
1 tbsp fennel seeds
4 garlic cloves grated
1 1/2 cup panko
4 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
2 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
2 tbsp of fresh chopped chive
1 tbsp of fresh chopped thyme
1-2 tbsp salt
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp black pepper

Fennel pasta
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp of fennel purée
2 cups flour
1 cup semolina 

Fennel top purée
2 large bunches of fennel fronds blanched
1/4 cup water

Beef perigord sauce see bordelaise  add 1 chopped black truffle to the bordelaise sauce

Fennel purée
2 large fennel bulbs sliced thin
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp oil
1-2 tbsp cream


For the Meat,

Grind the meat yourself making sure you have ice cold attachments for your meat grinder or have your local butcher grind it for you. (short rib is an expensive cut to grind so you might want to use a less expensive fatty cut like brisket, chuck, or round).  Add all the other ingredients to stainless steel bowl and season.  Take a small saute pan on high heat with a tsp of olive oil and cook 1/2 oz of the meatball mixture.  Taste the meatball to see how it tastes.  If everything tastes perfect then set aside for the pasta, if not adjust the meatball to what you think it needs.  

For the Fennel top puree,

Blanch the tops in boiling salted water for 30 seconds and then plunge into an ice bath.  Take 1/4 cup of water and the tops and puree until smooth.  Set aside for the pasta

For the Pasta,

place the flours in a bowl, make a well or hole in the center of the flour.  Place the eggs, salt, and fennel puree (if using) into the well.  Using a fork, beat the eggs, puree, until smooth.  With the fork,  gradually stir in the flour little by little until the egg isn't so sticky.  Using your hands instead of the fork, begin forming the dough by folding the flour into the mixture.  Continue the folding action until the dough is smooth and not sticky.  Adjust the amount of flour depending. You may need a little more or less depending on whether you included the puree.   Once the dough is formed,  knead it for 5 minutes,  wrap it in plastic and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.  

Take the full amount of dough and cut it in half keeping one half wrapped in plastic. Roll the dough flat with a rolling pin.  Place the flattened dough in the pasta machine on the thickest setting,  and pass it through.  Adjust the thickness of the setting with the knob.   For cannelloni style pasta, I adjust the setting to a 6 or 7.   Pass the pasta through the machine down to a 6 or 7 and then fold the dough back up and repeat the process,  a total of 3 times.  You might need to add a little flour if the pasta is sticking.  Repeated folding and passing the dough through the pasta machine builds structure into the pasta which will enable it to attain the the aldente when boiled.  On the last pass through,  don't fold the pasta.  Lay the sheet out on a floured surface or table and cut the pasta in squares sheets every 1 inche using a pasta wheel for the serrated look.  Fill each pasta with just a small amount of meatball filling.  Brush each one with water and then fold over into a triangle, then pinch the ends together to make a tortellini shape.  Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

fennel pasta.JPG

For the Fennel Puree,

In a large saute pan on medium heat add olive oil, butter, sliced fennel, and 1/2 tsp of salt.  Cover and cook for about 25 minutes stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking.  The fennel should not have any color when they are done.  You can add the 1-2 tbsp of cream at the end of the cooking process. Once they are done, place in a vitamix and puree until smooth.  Adjust the seasoning if need be, set aside and keep warm

To Finish,

Place a pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil.  Place 20-25 tortellini pastas in the water and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Strain out and place in a large saute pan with a few ladles of bordelaise sauce.  Add a little of the pasta water to the pan to thin out the sauce if need be.  Adjust the seasoning is need be, add truffles.  To plate add a little of the fennel puree to the bottom of the plate.  Add 5 tortellini to each plate.  Add a little more sauce and truffles along with fresh parmesan and fennel fronds.  Serve and enjoy!

Wagyu Fennel Pasta.jpg