Passatelli Asciutti

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I had never thought of passatelli asciutti until last week, when I tasted them in a restaurant up in the Dolomites. I had them served with melted butter, sage, pumpkin and radicchio: a true delicacy, an original alternative to the classic passatelli in brodo, one of my favourite soups from Romagna.

I ate the new version of passatelli with great pleasure and full concentration, as I wanted to reproduce the dish in my kitchen. Not a difficult task. I already had the passatelli recipe – a mixture of breadcrumbs, Parmesan, eggs, flour and nut meg combined with a bit of melted butter – but I needed the proper device to make them. The potato ricer didn’t work for me, I knew that: with my small hands, I have always found it hard to press the passatelli dough through the large-hole disk, so hard that I stopped making passatelliages ago and forgot about them. Now I wanted them back in my dish.

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I found my tool in a local kitchen shop, which sells anything you could possibly imagine for your cooking and beyond. Butter is the essential base, pancetta adds taste and consistency, leeks bring sweetness and colour, and rosemary finishes the dish off with aroma and flavour. 
In 20 minutes the recipe was done and ready to be enjoyed. Thanks to the creativity of a young chef and to my new passatelli maker.

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Passatelli burro, pancetta e porri
For the passatelli
100 g homemade breadcrumbs
100 g freshly grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon plain white flour
20 g melted butter
2 eggs
50 ml dry white wine (otional)
Sea salt
For the sauce
30 g butter
100 g cubed pancetta
50 ml white dry wine
1 medium leek, trimmed, quartered and chopped
1 medium sprig of fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
Freshly grated Parmesan to serve
Sea salt
Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
  1. In a frying pan, melt the butter and sauté the pancetta on medium to high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
  2. Stir the leek into the sizzling pancetta and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Pour in the wine and let it evaporate for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat and cook gently, covered, for 10 minutes. Add rosemary and black pepper at the end.
  4. In a small pan, melt the butter for the passatelli on a low heat. Set aside and leave to cool.
  5. In a bowl, with a fork, combine the breadcrumbs, flour, cheese, eggs, melted butter and nutmeg. The resulting dough should be fairly firm; if it’s not, work in some more breadcrumbs. If it’s crumpled, soften it with a little white wine. Let the dough rest for a half hour in the fridge.
  6. Bring 2 litres of water to a boil with a good pinch of salt.
  7. Fill your passatelli device with the dough and squeeze it over a dish, allowing the passatelli to drop into it.
  8. Drop your passatelli into the boiling water.
  9. As soon as the passatelli have risen to the surface turn off the heat and lift them out with a slotted spoon.
  10. Add passatelli to the hot pancetta and leek pan. Toss gently to combine.
  11. Place in a hot serving dish and serve at once with grated cheese, for those who want.

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