Homemade pasta is a labor of love, but the result is a perfect marriage of texture and flavor — just the right amount of bite, and rich with the taste of good-quality eggs and wheat. When you’re ready to master it at home, there’s no better teacher than Chef Thomas McNaughton of San Francisco’s flour + water, author of the new cookbook Flour + Water: Pasta. In the book, out this month, he shares more than 75 recipes for the house-made pastas his restaurant is known for, broken down by season and covering a range of shapes and flavors. The inspiration is traditional (Thomas studied pasta in Bologna) but the dishes show his own personal interpretations and a California twist.
Additionally, Flour + Water: Pasta has tutorials for basic techniques like mixing and rolling out pasta dough, plus more advanced skills like folding different pasta shapes. Step-by-step photos and descriptions walk you through each process, punctuated by helpful tips from Thomas and the experts he’s learned from throughout his career.
Try these autumnal recipes from the book, then pick up a copy to take your pasta skills to the next level. And stay tuned for more from Thomas McNaughton on Taste this week!
|Pumpkin Tortelloni with Sage & Pumpkin Seeds
Tortelloni—a bigger version of tortellini, closer to a dumpling—is traditionally stuffed with pumpkin, nutmeg and Parmigiano-Reggiano. But beyond that starting point, the regional variations are countless. Here, Thomas puts pumpkin seeds in the sauce to give the tortelloni a little crunch and nuttiness, and he coats the pasta with a brown butter sauce.
Thomas adapted this recipe from one used at Bruno e Franco la Salumeria, where he worked in Bologna, Italy. A good Bolognese, he says, is all about the melding of flavors, neither too dry nor too wet. When you twirl your noodles together, there should be just enough sauce to bind the noodles together. The meat and tomato flavors come together through the addition of milk, which acts as the sauce’s binding agent. The most important ingredient in Bolognese is time, which turns the ingredients into something greater than the sum of its parts.
|Agnolotti dal Plin
This dish hearkens back to the lavish feasts thrown by Italian dukes once upon a time. During these celebrations, copious amounts of roasted meat were made; the leftover roasted meat was used the next day for agnolotti dal plin. Centuries later, this dish is still a great way to utilize meat trimmings from the previous night’s meal, and that’s why this dish is on the menu at Flour + Water throughout the year. This recipe uses equal amounts of pork, chicken and rabbit for depth of flavor, but you can tweak the ratios depending on what you have on hand.