Well, what are we waiting for? Let’s start the fire and fricassee him. You start the kindling and I’ll get the coal. Uh, by the way, how many lumps do you want?”
– Bugs Bunny, Rabbit’s Kin, 1952
Buenos Aires – The evolution of a recipe is an important thing in the world of cooking. It’s a step by step process, with a change here, a change there. Somewhere down the line, perhaps a sudden leap forward will take place – that’s sort of the idea behind all those foams, gels, and airs out there in the food world. I’m still playing in the bit by bit arena, and I’m fine with that. You may remember my recent revival of an old Paris bistro recipe for Poulet en Fricasée à la Lyonnaise. If not, it’s worth popping back there and taking a look at it. I’ll wait.
I made three changes to the recipe that I presented there. First, I added several diced shiitake mushroom caps to the pan right after flipping the chicken pieces for the first time. Second, I coarsely pureed the sauce before serving it – just using a hand blender but leaving it somewhat chunky. And third, instead of serving it over rice, I served it over pasta. Homemade mushroom tagliolini to be exact. This was mostly because I just bought a new hand crank pasta maker – I don’t like the texture of the pasta I’ve been getting from the electric machine. Take that Ron Popeil!
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup semolina flour
½ teaspoon of mushroom salt (I found it in a specialty store, I had to use it for something)
2 large eggs
2½ teaspoons olive oil
Mix the dry ingredients together so they’re evenly distributed. If you can’t find mushroom salt, use half salt and half mushroom powder, or ground dried mushrooms, or just use plain salt and don’t worry about the mushroom flavor – though it’s a nice touch. Add the eggs and olive oil and mix by hand until it forms a solid mass. If you have extra large eggs, cut back to two teaspoons of the olive oil. Knead it for a couple of minutes, then place it in the refrigerator for half an hour. Roll it out through a pasta maker or by hand at the thickest setting. Then fold the ends in the center and fold it in half (essentially making four layers), and run it through on the same setting, but putting it in from the side (a quarter turn of the pasta). Repeat until you’ve run it through on this setting five times. On the last time, cut it piece crosswise in either two or three even sections, depending on how long you want the pasta strands (remember they’re going to lengthen to almost double what they are now). Proceed to roll each piece through the rollers on progressively one thinner setting after another until the pasta is roughly 1/16″ thick – on most standard hand cranked machines that means setting number 4 or 5. Then run them through the cutters to make tagliolini. Cook in salted boiling water until done – remember fresh pasta cooks quickly – it’ll only take about four minutes. Makes four side dish or two main plate servings.