Hand-rolled semolina pasta with scallop blanquette
Making pasta is commonly associated with machinery and complex home set-ups, but it is possible to make pasta purely by hand.
Small rolling pins or specific hand-shaping tools will allow for the myriad shapes and styles to add to your repertoire. With a little research into the methods used, I can assure you, the process becomes addictive.
These little orecchiette are a favourite of mine (and a great place to start) and while this is far from a traditional application in this recipe, I find it a really great way to keep a braise simple and clean but also turn it into a meal.
Each style of pasta has a slightly different purpose – from busiate to cavatelli, the variance in use is about the sauce. Here I find it best to rely on the classic applications to learn what to look for in how rich or lean each sauce needs to be to suit the shape.
This blanquette is a great base to use with lots of different seafoods. The original is based on veal so the cooking time is significantly longer, meaning it is also appropriate for other white meat such as chicken. Scallops can be among the worst seafood by fishing practice, so do be informed as to where the product is sourced. There are a few hand-dived fisheries in Australia and although the product is considerably more expensive, the cost is worthwhile from both an environmental and quality perspective. Vegetarians could try this recipe with potato in place of the scallops. Add them at the same time as the turnip.
The beauty in the blanquette is its linear flavour. Don’t feel the need to caramelise or mess with any elements, just let it all be. In the name of balance I would serve some nice bitter leaves with this but sometimes it’s just good to relish in the warming of a simple stew.
• 200g semolina
• 6 small white turnips
• 50g butter
• 1 clove garlic
• 20g flour
• 300ml white wine
• 300ml stock (fish, chicken or vegetable)
• 6 leaves wombok or similar soft cabbage
• 10 Maroochydore (or hand-dived) scallops
• thyme leaves
• 1 lemon (juice and zest)
• Espelette pepper (or fragrant chilli powder)
1. Prepare the little pasta ears by forming the semolina and 110 millilitres of water into a dough, adjusting the water according to the consistency, as not all semolinas are the same. Knead for five minutes then let it sit for 30 minutes. Roll the dough into sausage lengths about the size of your finger and cut at 1.5-centimetre intervals.
2. Once these little nuggets are formed you need to shape them by either using your thumb or alternatively the back of a knife. Push each nugget down and forward into the working surface before dragging your thumb back towards yourself. They should form a fairly thin “ear” with a coarse finish on the side your thumb indented. Be mindful when making these that semolina pasta tends to be more firm than egg pasta, so make sure no surface is too thick. Set these little shaped ears onto a tray with more semolina, if required.
3. Peel and slice the turnips into pieces the size of a scallop, then boil them in salted water for about five minutes until they are just cooked through.
4. Melt the butter with the garlic clove in a small pot. Add the flour then deglaze with the white wine. Add the stock and bring up to simmer before adding the cabbage and then the cooked turnips. Finish with the scallops and only just bring it up to warm before taking it off the heat and finishing with the thyme leaves, lemon juice and zest, espelette pepper and some salt.
5. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, then drop in your pasta. Cook on a slow boil for about five minutes or until
6. Roll the pasta through the sauce and adjust the consistency with the pasta water. Divide across two bowls and finish with cracked pepper.
This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on May 29, 2021 as "Scalloped edges".
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