Friday, July 8, 2011

Scarti della Patata con le Polpette d'Agnello (Potato Scrap Pasta with Lamb Meatballs)

Recently, I made some gnocchi by hand, but I made too much of the potato dough.  I had about a pound of leftover potato dough and did not know what to do.  I could make more gnocchi, which was an appealing idea, but I wanted to try something different.  To make matters more difficult, I left the dough in the refrigerator.  As a result, it was much more moist than before.  After giving it some thought, and some extra flour, I decided to make my own potato pasta.

After adding the flour, I rolled out the pasta by hand until it was its desired thickness -- or thinness depending upon how you view these types of things.  I used a pizza cutter to make the noodles.  My noodle cutting skills are a lot like my math skills.  Very sketchy.  Despite my best efforts, I could not cut the noodles evenly.  I had some wide noodles, some not so wide and some thin noodles.  Then there were the odd shapes created with the edges of the rolled pasta.  In the end, I decided that I would just call this dish, potato scraps or, to make it sound a little fancier, "Scarti della Patata."  This means potato scraps in Italian.

I also had a pound of ground lamb in the fridge.  I made some lamb meatballs (my favorite) to go with the pasta.  In the spirit of doing something different, I used some different spices, like coriander and toasted onion, to make these meatballs.  I did not go crazy ... I still used basil, oregano and red pepper.  The taste of the meatballs was different, but, still tasty.   

Finally, to complete the change, I forewent the usual Parmigiano Reggiano and shaved some aged Asiago cheese to garnish the dish.  Different tastes, but always a good meal. 

(Potato Scrap Pasta with Lamb Meatballs)
A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 2-3

Ingredients (for the Pasta and Sauce):
Leftover gnocchi dough (about 1 pound)
1 can of San Marzano tomatoes (28 ounces)
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
Dried basil, to taste
Dried oregano, to taste
1 1/2 cup of water
2 cups of chicken stock
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste

Ingredients (for the Lamb Meatballs):
1 pound of ground lamb
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon of toasted onion
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
2 teaspoons of dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
1 cup of bread crumbs
Salt, to taste
Ground pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.

1.  Make the meatballs.  Mix all of the ingredients together and form small balls.  You should be able to get seventeen meatballs for a pound of ground lamb meat.   

2.  Brown the meatballs.  Heat the olive oil in a saute pan on high heat.  Brown the meatballs in two batches.   Set the meatballs aside.  Add the onion, garlic, carrots and celery and saute the vegetables until translucent.  

3. Begin to make the sauce.  In a separate pot, add the tomatoes and, with a masher, break up the tomatoes.  Add the water and turn the heat on high.  Once the tomatoes begin to boil, add the meatballs and the chicken broth.  Let the sauce return to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

4.  Make the pasta.  Use 1 to 2 cups of flour to help reduce the moistness of the pasta if necessary.  Flatten the dough to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.  Use a pizza slicer to slice the dough into noodles.  Separate the noodles and sprinkle them with flour.

5.  Cook the pasta.  Bring a pot of water to boil.  Add the noodles.  When the noodles begin to float, they are done. Drain the noodles and then return them to the pot.  Add several ladles of the sauce and mix so that the sauce coats the noodles.  

As for the gnocchi recipe, without which this recipe would never have happened, that will have to wait for another day.  I wanted to include step-by-step pictures, which I did not take when I made the gnocchi.  So, until the next time that I make gnocchi ...


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