Updated: Sep 23, 2020
A trio of recipes for ribbon pasta
As regular readers of my blog will know, we love pasta, especially homemade using our nifty electric pasta maker. Freshly made pasta in this machine is dead easy – in 30 minutes, we have a finished product with just eggs and flour. While fettuccini is our go-to style of pasta, a good ribbon pasta in a rich sauce is a close second.
We do a lot of home-smoked salmon and I am always looking for new dishes to work in the salmon. An emerging favorite is fresh pappardelle with a creamy smoked salmon, caper and dill sauce. While the pasta is cooking, I heat olive oil in my favorite Calphalon skillet and add garlic and shallots until golden. Then I add the salmon for a minute followed by a little bit of dry white wine, cooking until it evaporates. Next I add tomato paste and cream until it thickens, followed by capers, chopped dill and lemon zest. The cooked pasta is then drained and mixed into the sauce!
I do not usually go for meat sauces, but rather prefer my pasta sauces to be cream (Alfredo) or herb (pesto) based. I make an exception when I have ground venison available, which happens once a year in the fall. A good Bolognese made from venison blends extremely well with ribbon pasta. I remain confused to this day as to the difference between classic Bolognese and Ragù – I have seen so many contradictions on the web as to what constitutes ‘authentic’ Bolognese. My recipe uses red wine (some say it should be white), does not include pancetta (which seems to be obligatory for Bolognese), includes the requisite celery, carrot and onion, but gives the option to use chicken stock over beef (the former not a typical Bolognese ingredient). So it may not be authentic, but still extremely good over ribbon pasta.
The traditional bagna càuda, which means ‘hot dip’, is a Piedmontese fondue made from serious amounts of garlic and anchovy. I came across a ‘saucy’ version for ribbon pasta that includes olive oil, chopped radicchio and zest and juice of a lemon, along with seasoning, that really spices up a dish of pappardelle. A fried egg on the top of the dish adds a rustic authenticity that is compellingly rich.