Insalata di Cavatini di Farina di Ceci, con Limone, Menta, Senapa Rossa e Piselli
Gram Flour Cavatini Salad with Lemon, Mint, Red Mustard Leaves and Shredded Snow Peas
not my foodie-friends, the title of this blog entry is referring to the
chick-pea flour I used to make the home-made pasta for this refreshing
Summer dish! So- no inappropriate goings-on here- on the contrary! There
is always something pretty tasty going on in my kitchen!
But be warned- you have to really want to make this pasta! Gram
flour is the stickiest substance in the universe when it gets wet!
Nothing, but nothing on Earth will prepare you for the fun you have in
store! So read on... and again- fear not! It will all be more than worth
it in the end...
have been tinkering around with gram flour over the past couple of
months and have grown to love its flavor... and today I had the notion
of trying to make pasta with it. I knew very well how sticky it would
get, as I have already mentioned, so don't say I haven't warned you!
is one of those things where it is a case of learning by doing, but I
will make an exception to my rule of only describing the procedure and
ingredients and leaving the quantities up to you- to avoid you any
psychological despair and drama!
I used 3/4 of a cup of
gram flour and 1 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour to make this. I
sifted the 2 flours together and then added 1 whole egg. Making a well
in the flour, I pinched the egg yolk and kept on "pinching-in" the flour
to form a dough. I knew it would get very sticky until all of the flour
was absorbed, but at the same time, I also knew that once there was
enough flour to make a firm dough, it would become very, very hard and
almost impossible to knead- I have seen similar dough being prepared to
make Indian flat-bread.
At this point, with the dough
feeling a little too firm, simply add a little warm water and keep
kneading as best you can. Little by little it will be absorbed and it
will begin to soften the texture. We are talking about 9-10 minutes of
work here- no more and no less, but it is worth it!
It is a
good idea, if you have someone close by to help to get them to assist
with adding flour as required- as your fingers will be very sticky for
quite a while! otherwise, pour yourself some extra flour into a small
bowl to make it easier to handle.
Once you have a smooth,
pliable dough, roll it out into lengths which have about the thickness
of your finger. Cut small slices from these rolls of dough and now the
fun begins! Sprinkle a little dough on your work surface and then squash
the little pieces of dough down flat with your thumb, then roll them
off the work surface. This gives them their characteristic folded shape.
It is actually all good fun and you may want to get friends or children
Bring a pot of well salted water to the boil and
then add the cavatini. Boil until they float to the surface and then
for a further 3-4 minutes. The dough is a little more dense that a
regular pasta dough so it will take a little longer. Once the cavatini
are "al dente", remove from the heat, drain and sprinkle with a little
sesame oil and some vegetable broth. Add some sliced spring onion whilst the pasta is still hot,
so that the residual heat partially cooks the onion for you. Add plenty of
finely chopped mint, the juice of half a lemon, a little nutmeg, crushed
garlic, finely chopped parsley and of course, season with salt and
pepper. Next come the snow peas, which I cut very finely on the
diagonal. Peas and mint go wonderfully well together and combined with
lemon and the final ingredient, red mustard leaves, goes to make a
winning combination! The red mustard leaves were more of an
afterthought, as I just so happened to have a few left in the fridge...
but the flavor worked so well, that I would definitely go out of my way
to make it this way again!
Serve with a last squeeze of lemon, a light drizzle of honey and a
sprinkling of lemon zest, which has previously been blanched to take
away the bitterness and any chemical residues. Serve at room temperature
or chilled from the fridge... and I do hope you enjoy!
That's what this is all about!