PREPARE: Silky Sustenance


v51a7802Bottega’s chefs, Frank Stitt and John Rolen, make pasta a delicacy.

By Jan Walsh // Photography by Beau Gustafson

never miss a chance when dining at Bottega Café to order the silk handkerchiefs, a crab-and-veggie-stuffed pasta that’s easily one of my favorite dishes here. Recently I had the chance to spend some time in the kitchen at Bottega with executive chef Frank Stitt and chef de cuisine John Rolen watching their performance of making, rolling, cutting, cooking, folding, and stuffing these pasta delicacies. For this farm-to-table pasta dish, Stitt sources the eggs from his and wife Pardis’ farm, Paradise Farm. The cherry tomatoes come from Harvest Farm, and the crabmeat is from Greg Abrams Seafood.

Dough procedure:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the “00” flour. Begin mixing on low speed. Slowly add the egg yolks until combined. Continue to mix for seven minutes. Once the dough is formed, remove from mixer. Divide into three equal pieces. Wrap each piece tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes. Resting the dough will allow it to soften and be easier for rolling through the pasta machine.

v51a7943Next, using a rolling pin, start with one of the pieces of dough, and roll it out into an even rectangle one-half inch thick. If using a hand-cranked pasta machine, attach it to the counter and adjust the rollers to the widest setting. If using the attachment for a stand mixer, set the machine rollers to the widest setting. Guide the dough through the machine. Repeat, switching the rollers to the next narrower setting each time. The dough will become longer and thinner with each pass through the machine. Continue until you have reached the thinnest setting for the rollers. You need to be able to see your hand through the pasta dough, and the pasta sheet should be thin and delicate like a silk handkerchief. Cut the sheet of pasta into squares, five inches by five inches. Lay flat on a baking sheet or dinner plate. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and keep boiling while preparing the sauté.

Sauté ingredients:

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 small shallot, minced

1 cup lady peas or field peas, drained

8 oz jumbo lump crabmeat, cleaned of any shell fragments

12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 cup buerre monte

1 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

Juice of one lemon

Sauté Procedure:

In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, melt one tablespoon of unsalted butter. Add minced shallot and soften, cooking for approximately one minute. Add the field peas and warm through. Add the buerre monte, and reduce the heat to low. Add crabmeat and cherry tomatoes, cooking until warm. Remove from the heat. Finish with the lemon juice and fresh dill. Place the four sheets of pasta into the boiling water, one at a time. Cook for two minutes. Carefully remove the pasta sheets from the water, drain, and gently lay the pasta on four separate serving plates. Spoon the sauté of the crab and peas into the center of each pasta square (reserving four to five tablespoons of the sauté to garnish). Next, fold the edges of the silk handkerchiefs over the crab, peas, and tomatoes to envelope the filling. Garnish with the remaining sauce, spooned over the top of each dish. Garnish with a sprig of fresh dill or finely sliced chives. Serves one.

View a video demo of this dish at BirminghamRestaurants.com/Recipes.

Try it in the restaurant, then try it at home!

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