- Marty L.
Does anyone know where I can obtain it in the D.C. area?
I know, I know -- "artisanal" isn't really better than non-artisanal pasta, just more expensive, right? Well, I'm eager to try an Alain Ducasse pasta recipe recently published in the NYTimes, and he insists that "You have to use a high-quality hard-wheat pasta . . . made with old-fashioned bronze dies, . . . usually labeled 'artisanal.' That kind of pasta has the best flavor and also a rougher texture, so it can grab the sauce."
I welcome any thoughts on whether this artisanal preference is nonsense, but nevertheless he is Alain Ducasse and who am I to argue? . . . so I'd still appreciate the info on where to buy the noodles, even if I might be wasting my money.
I just saw them recently at Williams-Sonoma and bought some and they were very good. They may only be available at some of the larger stores, but I have seen them at Tysons Corner and Fair Oaks malls, so perhaps they are in regular stock now.
March 13, 2002
Recipe: Olive Mill Pasta
ime: 45 minutes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
2 medium-small onions, minced
1/4 pound fingerling potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
5 1/2 cups, approximately, vegetable or light chicken stock
14 ounces artisanal strozzapreti pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium-size ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, juiced and diced, or 2/3 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes, not oil-cured, covered with boiling water and drained
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
8 branches fresh basil or arugula, leaves removed and slivered, stems lightly crushed
1 bunch scallions, trimmed, slant-cut in 1-inch pieces
3 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, about 1 cup.
1. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 10-inch sauté pan. Add butter. When it melts, add onions and potatoes. Cook, stirring gently, over medium heat until they begin to turn golden.
2. In a small saucepan, bring stock to a slow simmer.
3. Add pasta to sauté pan, and stir gently. Lightly season with salt and pepper, and add tomatoes, garlic and basil or arugula stems. Add 1 1/2 cups stock. Cook, stirring gently, until nearly all stock has evaporated. Add scallions and another cup of stock, and cook, stirring, adding additional stock from time to time, so there is always some liquid in the pan, until pasta is al dente, about 18 minutes. Remove garlic and herb stems.
4. Fold in cheese and all but 1 tablespoon remaining oil. Add slivered herbs. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Transfer to warm soup plates, taking care that the ingredients are well distributed. Drizzle remaining oil over each and serve.
Yield: 4 servings.
I just thought I'd mention...I recently browsed an article in Food & Wine that talked about "luxe ingredients worth the price" and one of the ingredients they mentioned was artisinal pasta being much better than standard pasta in holding the sauces.
BTW, I also saved that recipe, so if you find a definite source for the pasta could you please post the locale?
Litari's does carry a wide variety of pastas but I'm not sure about their specific brands.
Via Reggio in DuPont may also be a source, I seem to recall them having lots of upscale Italian merchandise.
I also saved this recipe and made it with the strozzapretti that I bought at W-S. It was excellent, well worht the trouble you're going to to find the pasta. I have a feeling, though, that you would not be terribly disappointed using Ronzoni or some other more commonly-available brand (or even the bulk pastas at Fresh Field, many of which I quite like and some of which are shaped like strozzapretti).