|Fig.1. Rotoli hiding under sauce.|
Rolled stuffed pasta is a long process, but that shouldn’t deter you from making it. I came up with this recipe because of my obsession with seafood and smoke: two flavours made in culinary heaven. In this recipe, the seafood is clams and shrimp; the smoke is there by way of bacon. This rotolo recipe differs from the traditional in that I don’t boil the rolled pasta, I simply roll the pasta thin and go heavy on the sauce; it’s the sauce that cooks the pasta. This technique also gives me the consistency I like in comfort food: thick and hearty.
For the pasta:
|Fig.2. 00 flour and organic eggs.|
I like the recipe below, but feel free to use any recipe you want as long as it’s all purpose flour. Pasta made with durum wheat semolina will not work in this recipe because of the way it’s cooked. Making pasta with egg yolks makes for a tough dough, this is normal. I use the egg whites for omelets. Like I said, use whatever pasta recipe you feel most comfortable with.
1 kilo 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
10 eggs yolks
Make a mountain with your flour and make a well in the center. Start by adding 8 eggs in the center, with your finger or a fork, begin incorporating the flour and eggs together. Once everything is mixed together (your mixture will not hold in a cohesive mass at this point) add another egg and begin kneading. Your dough should start taking shape at this point, scrape up any loose pieces of dough, add the last egg and knead until it all comes together. Continue kneading for 10 solid minutes while dusting with flour. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let your dough rest for 30 minutes.
|Fig.3. Resting dough.|
For the filling:
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
½ pack low sodium, smoked bacon
1 ½ kilo minced pork
2 cups pealed, raw shrimp
salt and pepper, to taste
Add the oil to a non-stick pan set over medium heat. Add the onions and the bacon and cook until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes. (be careful not to get any color on the onion or bacon, lower the heat if you must.) Add the pork, stir well, and cook until very lightly cooked, about 8 to 10 minutes. (see picture Fig.4&5.) Salt and pepper to taste and set the pan aside and let cool.
Once meat has cooled, add to a food processor along with the shrimp and pulse it a few times until it has a spreadable consistency. (see picture Fig.5&6.)
Refrigerate until ready to use. The filling can be made a day in advance.
|Fig.4. Clam sauce on the left-pork and bacon on the right.|
For the sauce
4 tbsp olive oil
3 strips bacon, chopped
5 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, whole
½ cup white wine
4 large cans whole plum tomatoes, hand crushed (put the tomatoes in a large bowl, put on an apron, and crush them with your hands.)
2 cans of clams, (with the clam water)
salt and pepper, to taste
Add the oil to a heavy bottom pot set over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon, onion and garlic and cook until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the heat to high and deglaze with the white wine. Once wine is reduced by half add the crushed, plum tomatoes and the clams (along with the clam juice). Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, add the chili flakes, and cook for 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, remove the garlic.
Making the Rotolo: Putting It All Together.
Clear off a large work station and set up your pasta machine; make sure it’s clamped firmly in place. Dust the machine and the surrounding area with flour. Cut off a piece of pasta about the size of an apple, flatten the tip with your fingers and feed it into the largest setting of your pasta machine. Roll the pasta through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks to your machine. Click the machine down one setting and roll the pasta dough through again. Fold the pasta in half, click the pasta machine back up to the widest setting and roll the dough through again. Repeat this process 6 times, rotating your dough 90 degrees every other time when feeding it into your machine. Your dough will become smooth, lightly dust with flour when necessary.
Now it's time to roll the dough out properly, working it through all the settings on the machine, from the widest down to the second smallest. Lightly dust both sides of the pasta with a little flour every time you run it through. When you get down to the second smallest setting, your pasta is ready. (thin pasta dough dries quickly so you have to work fast at this point.)
Spread the meat filling onto the pasta sheet about ¼ of an inch high. Gently roll the pasta until it's the size of a hockey puck. (see photos below) Cut the rotolo into 1” rotoli. Place the rotoli in an oven proof dish, make sure the rotoli do not touch. Add a lot of sauce over the top of the rotoli. The rotoli should be completely covered. (The sauce should cover the rotoli by 1".) If you need more sauce, simply add more crushed tomatoes, or even chicken stock will do. (because the pasta is not cooked, it will absorb a lot of sauce, this sauce will flavor the pasta.) If you have leftover sauce, freeze it. It all depends on the size of your ovenproof dish. Also, if you have leftover meat filling, freeze it for another use.
Cook in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes, (or until it looks like picture Fig.12.) Serve immediately.
|Fig.5. Pork and shrimp.|
|Fig.6. Spread on the dough.|
|Fig.7. The long view.|
|Fig.8. Starting to roll.|
|Fig.9. Rolling pasta.|
|Fig.10. Spread as you roll.|
|Fig.11. A rotolo becomes rotoli.|
|Fig.12. Covered in sauce.|
|Fig.13. The Lone Survivor|