There’s a big range of effort for summertime cooking–sometimes you pick up the ready made pasta salad from the deli section, sometimes you boil some supermarket fresh pasta and add some dressing and chopped up bits from the fridge.
And sometimes, it feels good to make everything from scratch. This is that dish.
Serves 3-4, about 25 tortelloni
- cherry tomatoes: about 4-500g/1 lb
- olive oil: 2 Tbsp
- salt: about 1 tsp
- zucchini/courgette: about 350 g/1.5 oz, try to find smaller ones to keep the sliced sections smaller
- neutral tasting oil (for frying): enough for 8-10cm/3-4 in of depth in a deep sauce pan, or use a deep fryer
- ricotta cheese: about 400 g/1 lb
- Parmigiano Reggiano cheese: about 30 g/1 oz finely grated
- lemon zest: zest from 2 lemons, finely chopped
- (or, optionally instead of the zest) preserved lemon: 1 lemon rind, very finely diced (Here’s a recipe)
- fresh ground black pepper: about 2 tsp
- salt, to taste
- type “00″ flour (or all purpose): 300 g/10.5 oz + extra if needed
- eggs: 2 large
- egg yolks: 2 large
- water: as needed
- semolina flour or very fine cornmeal for dusting the final pasta pieces
Pasta Salad Dressing
- olive oil: 150 mL/0.67 cup
- white balsamic vinegar: 75 mL/0.33 cup
- dijon mustard: 1 Tbsp
- honey: 1 Tbsp
- basil leaves: a small handful, about 5-10 g/0.5-1 oz roughly chopped
- (optional) dried chili flakes: a pinch
- A pasta machine
- (optional) small food processor or stick blender (or use a hand whisk) for the dressing
- Heat oven to 135 C/250 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Prep tomatoes: Halve the tomatoes and with a thumb, press out seeds and juice in each half. Add to a bowl with the olive oil and salt. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet.
- Roast: For 1.5 hours. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature. You can also make these 1-2 days ahead–keep in the fridge coated in a bit of olive oil
- Prepare the zucchini. Thinly slice the zucchini, and lay on a surface in a single layer. Sprinkle salt on all pieces and allow to sit for a minimum of 1 hour, up to 8 (covered with a towel). After sitting, wipe away all the water that the salt has pulled out of the zucchini. At this point you can fry them or put in the refrigerator overnight in a sealed container.
- Fry the zucchini. Fill a saucepan or fryer with the oil to a depth of about 4 inches/10 cm. Heat the oil to 160C/320F, then fry the zucchini in 2-3 batches for about 4 minutes each or until well browned. Remove to a paper towel to cool. Note that you shouldn’t need any salt as there will be some leftover from the previous step. Once cool, transfer to the same container as the tomatoes.
- Mix all ingredients together, and keep chilled until needed to shape the pasta.
- Make the dough.
- Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
- Add the eggs and egg yolks to the well in the flour and whisk with a fork for 1-2 minutes until completely blended.
- Using a fork, begin mixing the flour into the egg mixture. Mix all together until a single ball holds together. If the mixture is too dry, add water in 1/2 tsp increments. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. You may end up with a finished ball with unused flour–this is OK.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap, and rest for 10 minutes to allow the flour to fully hydrate.
- Knead on a tabletop by hand for 8-10 minutes by pushing half of the dough away from you using the heel of your hand. Fold the dough in half toward you, rotate and flip upside down and repeat. The dough will become more elastic and no individual bits of flour should be visible. Roll the dough into a flat rectangle and re-wrap with the plastic wrap.
- Rest the dough. Rest for 1 hour at room temperature if using the same day or refrigerate overnight (place the wrapped dough in a airtight bag or container) if using later, remove to room temperature 1 hour before rolling out.
- Roll the pasta.
- Divide the pasta into 4 equal pieces and work with one portion at a time, leaving the remaining pieces wrapped up.
- Put the pasta machine rollers to the widest setting. Roll the pasta through this setting 4 times, folding the dough over in half after each rolling(except the last rolling).
- Then roll the dough once through each of the next settings until reaching the next to last thinnest setting. (the thinnest setting is only used for filled pastas)
- Put the pasta sheet on a well floured surface to rest while you continue with the remaining pieces. (I’ve found using a porous wooden surface better than a smooth surface–the pasta sticks far less since the dusting flour clings to the board better.)
- Cut the pasta into about 7.5 cm/3 in squares (about the size of a standard square Post-It).
- Fill and shape the pasta.
- Using a spray mister, pastry brush or a finger, wet the edges of all pieces with water. Place about 1 Tbsp of the filling in the center and fold into a triangle. Seal all the edges, and use your finger to seal the area around the filling, working any air bubbles out. Bring the bottom two corners towards you and press hard where they meet to keep the spot as thin as possible so that it cooks the same time as the rest of the pasta.
- Rest the shaped tortelloni on a floured surface for about 30-60 minutes to allow the dough to dry out.
- Cook the pasta.
- Heat water and some salt (about 1 Tbsp per liter of water) to boiling, then reduce to just between a simmer and soft boil–we want a high enough temperature to cook the pasta, but not an aggressive boil which can tear the pasta open.
- Cook for 3 minutes, then drain well and gently toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil to prevent the pieces sticking together. Refrigerate until needed.
Pasta Salad Dressing
- Blend all ingredients together in a small food processor, a stick blender or hand whisk. If hand whisking, chop the basil finer before whisking. Keep at room temperature in an airtight container until needed.
- Combine all elements together. Toss the pasta with just enough dressing to coat well–you might have some left over. Toss together with the tomatoes and zucchini. Keep refrigerated until needed, but ideally let sit at room temperature for an hour as the pasta and vegetables will have much more flavor than fridge cold temperature. Grate freshly ground parmesan if desired.