Introduction: Corzetti With Creamy Walnut Sauce
From the North-Western region of Italy comes a unique and fun kind of pasta known as corzetti. It consists of flat, round pastas that are stamped with designs ranging from flowers to family crests. They are basically giant edible coins (awesome, right?) and they can be used for all kinds of occasions.
This dish is fairly easy to make and really fun to eat; prefect for adding a little flare to your next dinner party.
Step 1: Stamps
There are not many craftsmen left that make traditional, handmade corzetti stamps, but that shouldn't deter you from making this awesome dish.
You can get factory made ones from a number of suppliers online if you want to go the easy route, but where is the fun in that?
I chose to make my own, which is cheaper and opens up way more possibilities for designs.
All you need is:
A few good pieces of wood(scrap 2x4s work great as long as they have a smooth, flat edge)
A saw (hand saw, table saw, whatever you have)
Some designs (research them or make your own!)
For the stamp there are two basic pieces. The first is basically a cookie cutter on one side and a stamp on the other. The second piece is just a stamp.
Start out by deciding how big you want the pasta to be, this will determine how small you cut the wood (I made mine about 3 inches across).
Cut the wood to size, it should fit in your hand and be between 1 and 3 inches thick. I cut mine to be octagonal because I wanted them to be round but only had a chop saw and no lathe. The final dimensions on mine are 3 1/4 inches wide by about 1 1/2 inches thick.
Trace out the cutter size on the face of the first piece of wood, most are circles but you can do whatever shape you like. Using the dremel, remove enough wood to make a depression 1/4 inch deep in the wood in the shape of your design. Shape the outside as well so you have a fairly thin lip all the way around so that it will cut the pasta more easily. The edge doesn't need to be sharp, however. Also, if you have a lathe this step will go a lot quicker and look much nicer using that instead of a dremel.
On the flip side you will make one of your two designs, I did a bee because it's easy to draw and I couldn't think of anything else at the time. Common traditional designs include geometric shapes, family crests, fruits and grains. Draw it on the wood and then carve it out with the dremel; you'll want to go fairly deep so that the design will actually show up when you stamp it.
On the other piece of wood make your other design; traditionally the second design is pretty simple so I just did stripes.
Note: you could just use actual cookie cutters and objects you have on hand for the stamps if you don't want to go to the trouble of making them...
Step 2: Make the Pasta
If you have a pasta recipe you like feel free to use it, if not then you can use mine:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp oil
1/2 cup water
Start by combining the flour and salt and then add the eggs and oil. When it's an even, crumbly consistency add the water a little at a time. Don't feel like you have to use all of the water and feel free to use more if you need to, this recipe is somewhat affected by altitude and humidity so chances are you will use a slightly different amount than me. Knead the dough for a few minutes, between 6 and 8. When you're done, let it rest for about 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch thickness, this is easy if you have a pasta maker, but if you don't you can still guess. Using the cutter side of your stamp, cut out several circles of pasta. I find it's easiest to set the cutter face up with the pasta on top and go over it with a rolling pin, but do what works for you.
Once you have your circles cut out you can stamp them. Place the pasta between the two stamps and firmly press them together. If the pasta sticks to the stamps you can lightly flour the stamps first.
Next you need to cook the pasta, which goes much quicker than store bought pasta so keep a close eye on it. Drop a few pieces in at a time, when they float to the top they are done and you can scoop them out onto a plate or in a bowl. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil to keep them from getting sticky.
Step 3: Sauce
At this point, all that's left to do is put some sauce on it and enjoy. I'm sure corzetti would taste good with any sauce, but from what I found it is traditionally served with walnut and mushroom sauces. So to hold with tradition, I made a walnut sauce. Here is the recipe:
2/3 Cup whole milk
1 1/2 slices of bread (without crust)
2 or 3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup parmesean cheese
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro for garnish
Soak the bread in the milk and set aside. Coarsely chop the walnuts and roast in a frying pan until lightly browned. Combine milk/bread mixture with garlic, walnuts, and cheese and blend until smooth. Add oil, salt, and pepper and lightly blend again. If sauce is not warm from being blended then either blend till warm or add a little hot water and blend some more( if you microwave it then it kind of dries out and gets stiff). Drizzle over hot pasta and sprinkle with cilantro (or basil) and enjoy!
And now you know how to make a delicious and unique pasta dish. Thanks for reading!