World's Easiest Pasta (Frascarelli) From 'Pasta Modern'


[Photograph: Lucy Schaeffer]

Francine Segan's fresh pasta chapter in Pasta Modern features most well-known homemade pasta shapes: ravioli, gnocchi, and free form pasta sheets are interspersed with a few long, twisted noodle recipes. The frascarelli, however, are totally different. Segan calls this the "world's easiest pasta." Indeed, you'll need little more than your fingers to make the pasta, and it needs nothing other than a bit of cheese, oil, and (maybe) meat to finish. Cooked in just a quart of water, these tiny "nuggets" of semolina, water, and egg have the same tender toothsome texture as German spaetzle, but are served like polenta.

Why I picked this recipe: There's little better than homemade pasta, especially when you don't have to lug out a pasta machine or a rolling pin.

What worked: The dish is unlike anything I'd ever cooked or eaten before, but it was the runaway favorite of the week. Sometimes dead simple is best.

What didn't: No problems here.

Suggested tweaks: This may be the world's simplest pasta, but it is hardly the fastest. The most efficient method I found for picking out the the pasta "nuggets" was to scoop big handfuls of flour and nuggets off of the cutting board and into a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Then I let the strainer do the work of sifting out the pasta bits, and returned the sifted flour to the wooden board. But be forewarned--even when using this trick, the pasta-forming step will still take quite a while.



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As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Pasta Modern to give away this week.