This dish is very similar to a previous post: Spinach linguini with English peas, mozzarella and preserved lemon. What can I say, English peas are one of my favorite spring ingredients.
serves: 4 difficulty: medium prep time: 2 hrs
For the pasta
- 1 1/2 cup 00 flour (which is Italian flour that you can find in most good grocery stores. All purpose flour would also do)
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
For the sauce
- 3 cups shelled English peas
- 1/4 preserved lemon (if you have it) or the zest of one lemon
- 20 mint leaves
- 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (if you want to keep the dish vegetarian)
- [optional] 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 5 oz pancetta
First make the pasta. Combine the 00 flour and the semolina flour together in a mixing bowl. Stir together to combine.
Remove 1/2 cup of the flour mix and set to the side for bench flour. Lay the flour out on a large cutting board or counter top. Make a well in the center of the flour.
Whisk the eggs and yolks with a fork. Add eggs, yolks, and olive oil to the well.
Using a fork, start slowly moving flour from the “rim of the well”, and incorporate it into the whisked eggs in the middle. Be careful not to breach the walls of the well. Mix the rest of the flour together to create a shaggy dough.
Scrape any flour that has stuck onto the surface and mix it in with the dough. Form the dough in to a ball.
Start kneading the dough by folding in two, turning 90 degrees, applying pressure with the palm of your hand down and away from you; folding in two, turning 90 degrees, applying pressure…. Keep kneading for at least 10 min or up until the dough become silky smooth. Because we are using semolina flour which is coarser, it will take more kneading to get there. In this case, I kneaded the dough for 20 min. Once it is smooth, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 min or better – a full hour.
Once the dough has rested, you can roll out and cut the pasta. First split the dough in 3 parts; work with 1/3 and keep the remaining 2/3 wrapped in plastic wrap.
I use a very simple Italian pasta maker with a detachable electric motor.
For videos on how to roll and cut pasta, refer to the squid ink pasta post. Flatten the dough between your hands so that it starts forming a pancake – about 1/2 inch thick. Adjust the pasta machine rollers on the widest gauge (on mine that’s 0), and turn on the pasta machine (if electric). Run the dough pancake through it 2-3 times. At that point you will have an elliptical sheet of dough. Fold the narrow ends of the ellipse so that the width of the pasta sheet is only slightly less than the width of the pasta machine.
Run the sheet through the machine couple more times. The goal is for the pasta sheet to be as wide as the width of the machine. Once you have achieved that, start tightening the gauge of the rollers (on my machine the numbers go up) and run the sheet through the past machine couple of times at each gauge. You may have to dust the pasta sheet lightly with flour. I go all the way to gauge 5 for linguine.
Attach the cutting attachment to the machine, and move the motor to the linguine setting. Run each pasta sheet through the cutter, and voila! you have linguine.
Next make the sauce. Mince the shallot. Heat a stock pot and add the olive oil. Once the oil shimmers, add the minced shallot, and sauté until translucent – 2-3 min. Add the English peas and continue sautéing for another 2 min. Add the stock, bring to a simmer, and simmer for about 20 min until the peas are soft enough to eat. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Place half the English peas in a blender, along with the mint leaves and 1/2 cup of the stock used for simmering them.
Puree the peas and mint. Season with black pepper (do not add salt because the preserved lemons can be quite salty). The resulting puree may be a bit too thick so you may add some more stock to get it to the consistency of Marinara sauce.
Take the sauce out of the blender, and mix with the remaining half of the English peas. Mince the preserved lemon or lemon zest and add to the sauce.
Adjust the sauce for seasoning. If you are not using preserved lemons, you may need to add salt. You can add the optional ingredient – heavy cream to give the sauce even more lusciousness.
Cut the pancetta in 1/4 inch chunks. Heat a fry pan and add the pancetta (no oil needed). Render the pancetta until the it browns and caramelizes.
To cook the pasta, bring a stock pot of water to an aggressive boil. Add a 2-3 tbs salt. Add the pasta and cook for 2-3 min. Note that fresh pasta cooks really quickly.
Grate the Parmigiano Reggiano.
Once the past is cooked, drain it, and mix it with the English peas sauce. Add about a cup of the grated Parmigiano Reggiano to the pasta mix. Place the rest of the grated Parmigiano on the table for your guests to self-serve.
Plate the pasta and top with some pancetta.
And you are ready for your guests!
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