Monday, December 21, 2015

This is How We Roll: Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu

Good friends make fresh pasta for each other.  That is how things "roll" with Vivian and Nhan, anyway.  Vivian showed us how to make ravioli with her trusty hand-crank pasta roller first.  She really likes Vetri's recipe, which requires nine egg yolks, or eighteen, if you messed up the recipe like Wes did!  Luckily he noticed right away, but it didn't save us another run to the supermarket in the rain.  Anyway, when Vivian told us that she was coming to our area for the day, we offered to return the favor with pappardelle - our favorite pasta shape for Wes's awesome lamb ragu.

Seems like a lot of trouble, but it is so worth it to make our own pasta.  To me, it's fun in an almost childlike way, much like making cookies from scratch for Christmas.  Also, it was the perfect way to spend a rainy night in with friends.

Pappardelle (a la Marc Vetri)

1 1/4 cup flour (Type 00 recommended, but we simply used all-purpose)
1/3 cup semolina flour
9 large egg yolks
4 tsp water
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


1. Combine both flours.  Place eggs, water, flour, and olive oil in mixer bowl, and mix by hand or with Kitchenaid beater.

2. Knead dough for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and silky in texture without any grainy lumps (or, use the dough hook attachment and knead for about 2 minutes on Speed 2.  Then, remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1-2 minutes).  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap.  Rest in refrigerator for at least 1 hour until use.  Prior to rolling, let dough thaw at room temperature.

3. Form the dough into a log, roughly 6 inches in length. Cut dough into thirds then into halves for total 6 pieces, to make it easier to feed through the pasta roller.

4.  Dust the dough with flour (and the roller if you want to) - to prevent sticking.  On setting 1, roll pasta dough through the machine.  Fold dough in half "hamburger" style and feed through machine again on setting 1.  Repeat this 1-2 more times to give dough more texture. Dust dough again if needed.

5. Next, turn machine to setting 2 and feed dough through machine. Repeat on next settings until you get your desired thickness.  We stopped at setting 5, except for that time that I was too busy chatting with Vivian and went on the setting 7, which yielded a pasta sheet that was thinner than Kleenex... of course, it broke and I had to start all over from setting 1 again!

6.  Cut into strips with a pasta cutter (that fun squiggly wheel thing that looks like a Play-Dough accessory).

7. To cook, bring water to a boil with salt. Add pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes to desired consistency. If frozen, cook for 5-6 minutes. 

Lamb Ragu


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 carrot, finely diced
1 onion, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine (we used a bottle of our wedding wine!)
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
3/4 pound pappardelle
1 tablespoon unsalted butter


1.  In a large cast-iron pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil.  Add the carrot, onion, and celery and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, 5 minutes.  

2.  Add the lamb, coriander, fennel, cumin, rosemary and thyme; season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, until the liquid evaporates, 5 minutes.  

3.  Stir in the tomato paste.  

4.  Add the wine and cook until evaporated, 5 minutes.  

5.  Add the tomatoes and their juices, along with the stock and bring to a boil.  Cover partially and cook over moderately low heat until the liquid is slightly reduced, 25 to 30 minutes.

6.  Add the pasta to the sauce.  Serve in bowls, topped with parmesan if desired.  Have it with a glass of wine!

We also had some other things on the side, like my roasted eggplant with cumin yogurt sauce and Wes's Herbs de Provence bread.

Dutch Oven Bread

Wes used the same Le Creuset that we made the lamb ragu in to make the bread.  It was very rustic and so delicious - crackly crust, wholesomely doughy middle.  Basically, he used this recipe but added a few tablespoons of Herbs de Provence (a blend of garlic, thyme, basil, salt, onion, oregano, rosemary, lavender, black pepper).  He made the dough while I was at work, so I cannot report on how it was done... maybe another time!

The lavender notes in the bread also went perfectly with this honey lavender white balsamic that Andrea got for me from Ojai, which we mixed with olive oil for dipping.  Thanks Andrea!

Eggplant with Cumin Yogurt

I sliced a large Italian eggplant into rounds, sprinkled both sides with salt to release the moisture from within.  Patted them down with a paper towel after about 30 minutes.  Then, tossed them with extra virgin olive oil, chopped basil (from our neighbor's garden), salt, and Italian seasoning.  Added red bell pepper slivers and tossed some more.  Roasted in the oven on 400 degrees F for about 25 minutes.  The yogurt sauce: mix together plain Greek yogurt with salt, pepper, cumin, chopped basil, and lemon juice, to taste.

Also, a shout-out to Margaret for giving us this jam from the Bavarian Alps!


  1. SOOOOOO DELICIOUS!!!! Thanks for being awesome hosts and letting us join you for dinner on such short notice!!! We will have another cook out day soon! PS I found the recipe for cucina enoteca's short rib paparadelle. Will try it soon and let you know how it turns out.... now just gotta go get myself a le creuset :P

    1. Awesome!! Thank you for helping us, Viv :) Can't wait until you're free for another kitchen get-together!