Tuesday, 18 January 2011
Recipe: Pasta Sauce with Mascarpone, Gruyère & Cinnamon
Yes, Cinnamon. When divorced from sugar (and I freely admit, I have a weakness for desserts which include generous quantities of both cinnamon and brown sugar), this is a spice with a beguiling bitterness, which, used carefully, can also be a splendid addition to savoury dishes. Here, it is a mere sprinkling over the dish at the point of serving...but the aroma is unmistakable as the plates of steaming pasta are set down - and the bitterness of cinnamon works well both with the sharpness of the gruyère, and as a foil to the creaminess of the mascarpone and egg in the sauce.
Stevie Parle published a distinctly iffy piece on pasta in The Telegraph recently - where, amongst other sillinesses, he gave the Southern Italian recipe for eggless pasta, as he waxed lyrical about the tuscan countryside around Radicondoli, where you wouldn't find eggless pasta in a million years, intended as it is for piquant southern sauces such as arrabiata and puttanesca, and not for the unctuous coating sauces of Northern Italy. One bit he did get right - although hardly a revelation - is the fact that different sauces are better suited to particular kinds of pasta. And a creamy sauce such as this one is best served with any of the flat-strip kinds of pasta, such as fettucine, tagliatelle, papardelle...any of those.
This is definitely a sauce for fresh, rather than boxed pasta (which doesn't mean it will be awful with boxed pasta...just that you won't be doing it full justice). Quick and simple, as well as elegant, this dish works equally well for an informal supper as for the pasta course of a grander dinner.
Ingredients: Pasta dough, made with 1 cup '00' flour, 1 cup semolina flour, 3 medium eggs, generous pinch of salt, and 1 tsp olive oil; 250g Mascarpone; 50g Gruyère (or similar cheese); 1 tbs Butter; 1 Egg yolk; 1 tsp ground Cinnamon; Salt.
1. Roll the pasta dough into eight strips, following the usual rolling method, lightly flour the surface, and leave to dry for twenty minutes or so; either cut by hand, for broader strips of pasta, or put through the fettucine cutter on the pasta machine.
2. Grate the Gruyère and mix it thoroughly with the Mascarpone and a large pinch of Salt.
3. Cook the pasta in salted water until it is al dente, then drain it, but reserving a cup of cooking water from the pasta.
4. Place the pasta pan back on the stove, and heat the reserved water in it, along with the Butter. Once the Butter has all melted, return the pasta to the pan and cook, stirring , for a couple of minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and tip over the pasta the Mascarpone mixture, along with the Egg yolk. Stir to mix well, and then serve in four heated dishes.
5. Sprinkle a dusting of ground Cinnamon over the top of each dish, and serve.