fresh penne with zucchini, leek, arugula, etc

Through no fault of our own we have two electric extruder pasta machines (in addition to our motor driven flat pasta roller machine). One bought in dr bob's youth at the foothills of Mount Vesuvius with the help of an Italian mom's daughter and lugged back to the US with a heavy and annoying to use voltage transformer, the original Pastamatic. And more recently a Christmas gift Cuisinart. The latter having the distinct advantage of direct wall outlet plug-in. If we ever get our closet reorganized, both will be easily accessible, but for now only the newcomer can be extracted without extra effort.

Still under the influence of the preceding rughetta roman summer (rughetta = arugula), memories of a zucchini-rughetta lunch bar pasta inspired us to try this combination, crossed with nostalgia for Ponza penne on the beach (zucchini "carbonara"). Although fresh fettuccini are terrific, the pasta shape didn't seem appropriate for the sauce, so we hooked up the penne disk instead. Wacking off the penne cleanly was a bit of a trick. A few got mangled, but it didn't seem to matter. By coincidence we had just picked up a 2/3 lb container of hand dipped ricotta at Fresh Fields. While hand dipping candles, or strawberries in chocolate, we can easily imagine, our cheesemaking ignorance limits us to guess that this means that its probably not the plastic stuff you usually find in the supermarket. It would have made a perfect addition to this pasta sauce had we thought of it. We didn't. Next time though, definitely.

ingredients

pasta
2 c white flour
1 c semolina
3 eggs, beaten
1 t salt
170 ml egg water mixture
1 electric pasta machine
or 1 lb dry penne
sauce
4 small zucchini
1/2 leek
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 T olive oil
1 egg
1/4 c half and half
1/3 c parmesan cheese, freshly grated
freshly ground pepper
1 c loosely packed arugula, chopped finely
[2/3 lb ricotta, superior quality]
salt, to taste?

instructions

  1. Make the fresh pasta according to your machine's instruction manual. This is supposed to make 3/4 of 3/2 lb pasta. [Can we still multiply fractions? That makes a bit over 1 lb, for those of you who need a hint.] If you are not in the home pasta maker business, buy a lb of fresh penne rigate (ridged) or break out a box of the dry stuff. Start the water boiling.
  2. Food process the zucchini and leek (we used the greener half), then saute in olive oil with a pressed garlic clove.
  3. Beat an egg and mix in the half and half. (Or any cream-like product, including evaporated milk?, would do here. We just had this on hand, and it could be replaced by some pasta water if the ricotta is used). Set aside. Grate the cheese. Chop up the arugula. We used our mezzaluna here.
  4. "Butta la pasta." Toss the fresh pasta into the boiling water and watch it carefully. Once it boils again, it will only take a few minutes to cook. Check with al dente tests.
  5. When ready, drain the pasta minimally and dump into the greens mixture over low heat. Pour in the egg mixture and stir around, hoping the raw egg will cook enough in contact with the hot pasta like in a carbonara sauce, enough to reduce the chances of food poisoning of course. We are not clear on this point and accept no responsibility for your experience with this problem. So far we have been lucky.
  6. Mix in the freshly grated parmesan and then the arugula and freshly ground pepper, and if you remember, the ricotta. Serve immediately (it ages in minutes!), topping each serving with some more freshly ground pepper.

notes

  1. What, no notes again?
fpwzlae.htm: 11-oct-1998 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]