This recipe comes from our article Restaurant Recipes for the Holidays by June Massel. She brings us this holiday pasta recipe by Chef Giuseppe from Sistina, located in the Upper East Side Manhattan. Giuseppe approaches the Christmas holiday season with the same enthusiasm and verve that he brings to his kitchen the rest of the year. This holiday pasta specialty is a chestnut fettuccine with broccoli rabe and fresh ricotta. Recommended to enjoy with Dolcetto D’Alba.
Christmas Chestnut Fettuccine with Broccoli Rabe and Ricotta
Ingredients for the chestnut fettuccine:
- 200g of chestnut flour
- 100g of whole wheat flour
- 100g of 00 flour (can substitute with all purpose flour)
- 3 eggs
- 1 pinch of salt
Ingredients for the sauce:
- 1 lb. broccoli rabe
- salt and pepper as needed
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- 4 tablespoons ricotta
- 1 lb. chestnut fettuccine (can buy in a package if you don’t want to make the pasta from scratch)
- Grated Pecorino Romano, as needed for serving
Directions for the fettuccine pasta:
- Mix the flours together on a wooden pastry board.
- Pour the eggs into the well.
- Work the flour with your fingers. When the texture becomes crumbly, begin to knead with your hands. The more you knead, the more glutens will form, which will strengthen the pasta sheets. The movement is all in the wrist: roll the pasta outwards in front of you, then fold it over onto itself and repeat the rolling movement. When the ball of dough is smooth, silky and no longer sticky, wrap it in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Roll the dough out to a very thin, wide, uniform sheet of pastry into the thickness of a dime.
- Then cut the sheet into long vertical pieces using a knife or serrated pastry wheel or run through a pastry machine to cut into long, fettuccine strips. You can also use a pasta machine if you have one. Fettuccine can vary from 3 to 5 mm wide.
- Cook the pasta uncovered in boiling salted water until al dente. Maybe 5 minutes.
- Drain the pasta in a colander. Reserve a few spoonfuls of the pasta cooking water for finishing the sauce (you will need about 1/2 cup).
Directions for the sauce:
- Trim all the leaves from the broccoli rabe and remove the central core from each leaf. Remove the bottom 3 inches of the stem and peel the rest up to the flower buds. Rinse well under cold running water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and stir to submerge. Cook, uncovered, until tender and a deep green color, 3 to 4 minutes. Lift the greens out of the water with a sieve or slotted spoon and transfer to a colander to drain for a few minutes.
- Coarsely chop the broccoli rabe. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a deep sauté pan or Dutch oven.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is a light golden brown, about 2 minutes.
- Add the dried pepper flakes and the chopped broccoli rabe. Continue to cook until the broccoli rabe is very hot and tender, about 3 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic cloves.
- Mix the ricotta with the remaining 1/4 cup oil and season with salt and pepper. Remove 2 tablespoons of the ricotta and reserve to garnish the dish.
- Pour the drained pasta into a large heated serving bowl. Add the ricotta–olive oil mixture and toss together with the pasta. Add the broccoli rabe and toss to combine. Add some of the reserved pasta cooking water if necessary to make the sauce creamy.
- Top with dollops of the reserved ricotta and serve at once. Serve with grated Pecorino Romano on the side.
June Massell is a New York based journalist and strategic communications specialist. She was a four-time Emmy award winning national television news correspondent, investigative reporter and news & documentary producer. She reported for The Newshour on PBS, for ABC Network News (Nightline, World News Tonight, Good Morning America), and NBC in New York and Chicago. She also produced for the news and documentary divisions of CBS and NBC Network News and worked on 60 Minutes. She has a strategic communications consulting practice and helps institutions “tell their story”. With a passion for travel, story telling, and food, June is a freelance travel writer who has told stories from destinations all around the world.