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.
Reprinted with permission from Pasta Modern: New & Inspired Recipes from Italy by Francine Segan. Copyright 2013. Published by Stewart, Tabori, and Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- 4 cups (680g) semolina flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 rosemary branch (optional)
- Olive oil
- 3 sweet sausages
- Pecorino cheese
Spread the semolina flour onto a large wooden board. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with 1/2 cup (120 ml) water. Drip the egg mixture onto the flour, a little at a time, using a fork or rosemary branch, and stir with your finger tips to form little nuggets. As they form, pick the resulting nuggets out of the flour and into a mesh sifter. Shake off any excess flour and transfer the nuggets onto a cotton dishcloth. Repeat until the egg mixture is used up, adding more flour if needed. Let the nuggets air dry uncovered, for 2 hours.
Bring 1 quart (960 ml) lightly salted water to a boil and add the pasta nuggets. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.
Meanwhile, in a small sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high-heat. Remove the meat from the sausage casings, add it to the pan and cook until it is lightly browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks.
Once the pasta is tender, spread it out onto a serving platter or wooden board, and top with the sausage and a generous sprinkling of shaved or grated cheese and drizzle of olive oil.