Preparing a meal from scratch can be an extremely satisfying experience. Special occasions benefit from a delicious meal you prepare yourself, or with the help of friends or family. Today we will be making orecchiette pasta, which is popular in Apulia, Italy, mixed with Swiss chard, asparagus. Before we get started let’s go over the ingredient list.
2 cups semolina flour
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups warm water
Rainbow Swiss chard
To prepare the dish you will need some equipment including a standing mixer, plastic wrap, a sharp knife, a good cutting board, a cheese grater or microplaner, a large pot, a stainless steel mixing bowl, a mesh strainer, and a saute pan.
Making the Pasta
Begin by adding two cups of the semolina flour to the standing mixer. Set the mixer on low and add a tablespoon of salt to the flour, followed by the two cups of water. The water should be added slowly so that the four has time to absorb it. Once the flour has taken on a dough-like shape increase the speed on the mixer until it no longer hugs the side of the pan. When the dough forms a nice, sticky ball remove it from the bowl and place it on a cutting board.
Sprinkle some all-purpose flour and semolina flour onto the cutting board before gently rolling your dough in ninety-degree motions until it is well formed and smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or overnight.
Remove the dough when ready and unwrap it from the plastic wrap. Sprinkle the cutting board surface again with both types of flour before slicing into the dough with a knife. Remove a long strip of dough, place the large hunk of dough aside, and gently roll the strip out into a long log shape. Slice quarter-inch pieces from log and gently sprinkle them with flour. Once you have about fifteen pieces, push your thumb into the sliced pieces until they become slightly flattened.
Blanching the Pasta and Vegetables
Set some water on to boil and prepare ice water in the stainless steel mixing bowl. When the water is boiling, pour several tablespoons of salt in the boiling water. Place the pasta in the mesh strainer and lower it gently into the boiling water. Keep the pasta from sticking by occasionally swishing the pasta back and forth. After four minutes, remove the pasta from the boiling water and place it into the ice water for about thirty seconds. Set the pasta aside and follow the same steps with the asparagus and carrots.
Sauteing and Finishing
Place the saute pan on medium heat and add some butter and olive oil. The shallots and chard should cook for about five minutes before you add the asparagus, garlic, diced carrots, and pasta. After about two minutes of cooking and stirring, add the heavy cream. The heavy cream should simmer until the entire mixture is thick. The final step is to grate Parmesan onto the dish.