Magazine article Sunset

Too Pretty to Eat? Ribbon Pasta Is Simple to Make, but It Does Take Time and Patience

Magazine article Sunset

Too Pretty to Eat? Ribbon Pasta Is Simple to Make, but It Does Take Time and Patience

Article excerpt

Too pretty to eat? As pretty as ribbon candy, colorful ribbon pasta is simple to make--once you understand the technique.

This artfully structured pasta comes from Patrizio Sacchetto of the Blue Fox restaurant in San Francisco. Under his tutelage, we found it fun to create--and a great homemade holiday gift.

Before you start, consider these questions:

Do I need special tools? You'll need a pasta machine to roll the stiff doughs to uniform thickness. A food processor is invaluable; a blender is handy, too.

Is multicolored pasta hard to make? No, but it takes time--and patience, too. The basic process is simple. Making vegetable purees (for color) and doughs takes the most time, but doughs can be made ahead; they also freeze well.

Do I need special ingredients? You need semolina flour. Widely available in well-stocked supermarkets and fancy food stores, this specially milled wheat flour comes in a range of textures. The kind you need for our recipes can range from coarser than all-purpose flour through gritty like fine cornmeal. These all work well. Semolina doughs are stiff to work with but have a springier texture when cooked than do plain wheat-flour pastas. You can use semolina flour liberally to keep doughs from sticking without adding the gumminess that regular wheat flour gives.

What does ribbon pasta taste like? The purees add color but little taste. A few hot ribbons make an elegant serving. See page 186 for suggestions.

What are the steps? First make the dough, then knead until supple. Divide doughs into easy-to-use portions. Cut 1 portion of each color and plain pasta into fettuccine-width strands. Roll a wide strip of uncolored pasta to form the base (plain pasta shows off the colored stripes best). Use water to "glue" the strands onto the wide, plain strip. Roll this striped sheet through the pasta machine to make it evenly thick and squeeze the layers firmly together. Then cut into ribbons. Repeat, using remaining dough.

Ribbon Pasta

1 recipe plain pasta dough for stripes and base (recipe follows) 1 recipe green pasta dough for stripes (recipe on page 186) 1 recipe magenta pasta dough for stripes (recipe on page 186) 1 recipe orange pasta dough for stripes (recipe on page 186) About 4 cups (1-1/2 lb.) semolina flour for rolling out pasta

Kneading the dough. Using 1 batch of dough at a time (plain, green, magenta, orange), flatten to about 3/8 inch thick, dust liberally with flour, and feed through pasta machine rollers at widest setting 10 to 12 times; fold dough in half lengthwise each time, and flour. When ready to use, dough will feel as smooth and supple as well-cured leather. Fold up finished strips and wrap airtight in plastic wrap or bags. Repeat to knead all batches of dough (total: 5 plain, 1 each of colored).

To make stripes. Cut 1 folded batch plain dough and each batch of colored dough into quarters. As you work, use 1 quarter at a time and keep remaining dough wrapped.

Flatten 1 quarter plain dough to about 3/8 inch thick and dust liberally with flour. Feed dough through rollers, at widest setting, several times; fold in half each time, repeating until dough is width of roller. Narrow roller spacing 1 notch and feed dough through again; repeat until you reach next-to-narrowest setting.

To create fettuccine-width strands, feed dough through the cutter setting closest to 1/4 inch. …

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