I recently went to Italy and I have been on a big pasta kick lately. Here is one that I made a few weeks ago that was a huge hit. This is not your traditional filling or flavors with parsnip and foie gras. I add some aged balsamic to offset the richness of those two ingredients. I also added a little crunch with fried parsnips and brightness with celery leaves to round out the dish. I am extremely grateful and really looking forward to returning to Italy later in the year for more pasta, pizza, and gelato. Here is the recipe I hope you enjoy it!
Basic Egg Pasta
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp warm water
2 cups flour
1 cup semolina
1 tsp of salt
3-4 large parsnips peeled and sliced
2 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp of salt
8 oz mascarpone
2 oz Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp of cream if need be
Salt and pepper
12 oz of foie gras
3 cups of smoked beef broth
4 tbsp of butter
Salt, pepper, sherry vinegar to taste
3 whole parsnips peeled and chopped
1/2 cup of celery leaves (from the heart)
1 small bottle of the best aged thick balsamic (Mussini 30 Year Balsamic Vinegar, Delizia)
or Gourmet Blends Balsamic
For the filling,
In a medium sauce pot add oil, butter, and parsnips, with a fair amount of salt distributed evenly on the parsnips. You want to have the heat on medium-low because you don't want to get any color on the parsnips. Place a lid on top and shake the pot every other minute to move the vegetables around. The salt will leach the water out of the vegetables and will cook in their own juices. Cook for 20 minutes and then check it, cook for another 10 minutes until tender. Then place into a food processor or vita mix to puree until silky smooth with a touch of cream, mascarpone, parmesan, salt and pepper.
For the Pasta
Place 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of semolina in a bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Add eggs, yolks, water, and salt. With a fork stir the egg mixture until it starts to form a ball of dough. Then use your hands to form the dough. Add more flour if the dough is wet. Knead the pasta for 5 minutes and then cover and rest for at least 30 minutes.
Take your pasta and cut in half. Leave one half covered while you work with the other half. Take the half of the pasta with a rolling pin and roll until the dough is thin enough to fit inside the biggest setting on your pasta machine ( I use the kitchen aid attachment). Then run the pasta all the way down to the lowest setting twice. Dusting the dough with flour if it is too wet. Then on the third time run it down to the number 6 or 7 setting depending on the strength of the dough. Again, Use a little flour for dusting. If you feel like the dough is very strong and good density to it you might be fine with a 7 setting. If you feel like the dough is "loose" and doesn't have the structure to it then you might want to go a little thicker with a number 6 setting. One you have the flat pasta all laid out you can take an adjustable pasta cutter (here) and cut 1/2 by 1/2 inch squares. Fill each pasta with just a small amount of 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.
Meanwhile in a food processor place 3 parsnips that are chopped and 1 cup of water. Puree the in the food processor until all the parsnips are small little pieces (think brunoise or small dice) and are about the same size. Strain out the water from the parsnips and try to dry as much as possible with paper towels. Then in a small pot with oil at 325 degree fry the parsnips in batches until golden brown. Strain out and season with salt.
Place the 3 cups of beef stock in a pot and reduce down to 1 1/2 cups. Then place a saute pan on high heat. Season foie gras with salt and pepper and cook on both sides for 2 minutes. Pour the chicken broth into a vita-mix along with the cooked foie gras and fat that is in the pan. Puree until smooth and add the butter, sherry vinegar, and season with salt. Set aside and keep warm.
Place a pot of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. Place 20 tortellini in the water and allow to cook for 2 minutes. Strain out and place in the sauce pan with a little pasta water, foie sauce. Cook for a minute. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if need be. Then portion the tortellini into 4 bowls. Top off with parmesan, fried parsnips, celery leaves and drizzle with balsamic. Serve and enjoy!