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Strascinati alla carrettiera (Cart driver’s pasta)

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Jul 18th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 9.31.28 AM

Total Time: 1¾ hours (includes resting dough)
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

For the pasta:

  • 350g durum wheat flour
  • 150g mineral water
  • 15g extra virgin olive oil

For the “cart driver’s sauce”:

  • 400G ripe cherry tomatoes halved
  • 20g peeled garlic
  • 10g chopped parsley
  • 10g pickled and chopped marjoram
  • 50g extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 fresh peperoncini or thai bird chilis
  • Salt
  • Pecorino

Method:

  1. Dump flour on a wooden board and hollow out a well in center.
  2. Pour mineral water into well, then oil.
  3. Using a fork as if scrambling eggs, gradually incorporate flour from inner walls of well into liquid. Once you reach a pancake batter-like consistency, use a bench scraper or knife to transfer remaining flour, a little at a time, into well and incorporate.
  4. As dough comes together, press it into a loose, shaggy mass. Wash your hands and move dough to a clean surface, scraping up and transferring any flour and dough bits left on board.
  5. Begin kneading dough by folding far edge toward you and pushing dough down and away with the heel of your hand. Rotate dough a quarter turn and repeat, continuing to turn, fold and push for 2-3 minutes. Dough will gradually come together into a semi-smooth mass, with all flour and dough bits incorporated.
  6. Clean work surface of any dried dough flakes and continue to knead dough gently until it is smooth and supple and springs back when poked, 10-15 minutes more. Wrap dough ball tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, ideally 24 hours.
  7. Remove dough from refrigerator and slice off a 1-inch section, then slice that in half.
  8. Roll pieces against a wooden surface to form snakes as thick as your pinkie. Cut snakes into segments as long as your thumb.
  9. To begin shaping the strascinati, place the dough pieces onto a textured surface ( sushi mat, woof board etc.), form a hook with your index, middle and ring finger. Maintaining even pressure, apply your three fingers to the front third of the piece of dough. Pull backand up across the textured surface. The dough should spring up and form around the finger nails. Use a bench scraper or knife to transfer the strascinati to a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and sprinkled with semolina, making sure no pieces of pasta touch. Continue until all dough is used. Let pasta dry slightly, 30-45 minutes.
  10. In a large pot, bring lightly salted water to a rolling boil and drop in cavatelli. Boil until pasta pieces float to surface and remain there for about 30 seconds. (Pasta should cook 1½-2 minutes total).
  11. In a mortar and pestle combine the garlic, chili, parsley, marjoram, a quarter of the cherry tomatoes and a pinch of salt
  12. Work the ingredients with the pestle until the garlic is crushed into small pieces and the tomatoes release their juice.
  13. Drizzle in half the olive oil and mix thoroughly, reserve.
  14. In a mixing bowl combine the cooked pasta, garlic herb mixture, remaining cherry tomatoes and olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  15. Toss vigorously, adjust seasoning. Serve warm with abundant grated pecorino

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