Simple frascatelli really is keeper

OK, I made homemade pasta this week, and it was fun, easy and fascinating. What’s that, you say?

It’s true. In fact, making frascatelli may become a weekend staple around here. Hey, it’s really just a flour and water dumpling. No pasta machine, eggs, or other ingredients needed. It’s you, flour and water. Even though it takes a few steps, it is simple, and we like simple. If you have kids old enough to be around boiling water, they’ll get a kick out of watching the seemingly magical way the dumplings form.

To make it work, you have to buy durum wheat semolina flour. Most grocery stores carry Bob’s Red Mill stone-ground version near the baking items. This high-gluten flour forms sturdy dumplings almost immediately after you sprinkle water on it.

To begin, you’ll need an square baking dish, two cookie sheets, a bowl containing 1 cup of water at room temperature, two cups of semolina flour and a large pot of salted boiling water. This is definitely a hands-on dish, so you’ll want squeaky clean hands. But don’t use your fancy scented soaps or your pasta will taste like juniper or rosebuds.

Spread half a cup of the semolina flour evenly in the baking dish. Grab a little water between your thumb and fingers and sprinkle it over the pasta. Repeat until you have covered the pasta lightly with water and see dumplings forming:

dumplings!
dumplings!

Use a spatula to scrape up the dumplings and turn them to coat in the flour. Then scoop them into a sieve and shake off excess flour:

shaking off excess flour
shaking off excess flour

Pour the dumplings on one of the cookie sheets and repeat the process with another half cup of flour, until you’ve used it up.

Pour about a fourth of the dumplings into the softly boiling water. Stir once to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom. After 30 seconds, or when the first dumplings float to the surface, scoop them out and place on the second cookie sheet:

frascatelli 007

Repeat with three more batches. Once all the dumplings are cooked, you’re ready to use them any way you like. Two cups of flour should provide you with enough pasta to feed four or five people.

Here’s a fantastic, light dinner:

Frascatelli with Arugala

feeds four

2 Tbsp. salted butter

3 cups of cooked frascatelli

3 cups of arugala (rocket)

juice of one lemon (Meyer lemon, if you’ve got it)

pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded parmesan, asiago or pecorino

Heat the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat, until it just begins to brown. Add the pasta and stir gently to coat it with butter. Heat for about a minute, then add the arugala. Saute gently until the greens are just wilting:

arugala just starting to wilt
arugala just starting to wilt

Pour the lemon juice and plenty of pepper over the dish and stir gently. Spoon the pasta into dishes, sprinkle with cheese and toss. Wait to salt the dish until you’ve tasted it with the salty cheese melted in. You might find you don’t need additional seasoning:

dinner!
dinner!

 

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