In this debut cookbook from Evan Funke, he shares classic techniques from his Emilia Romagna training and provides accessible instructions for making his award winning sfoglia (sheet pasta) at home. With little more than flour, eggs, and a rolling pin, you too can be a sfoglino (a pasta maker) and create traditional Italian noodles that are perfectly paired with the right sauces.
Beginning with four foundational doughs, American Sfoglino takes readers step by step through recipes for a variety of generous dishes, from essential sauces and broths, like Passata di Pomodoro (Tomato Sauce) and Brodo di Carne (Meat Broth) to luscious Tagliatelle in Bianco con Prosciutto (Tagliatelle with Bacon and Butter) and Lasagna Verde alla Bolognese (Green Bolognese Lasagna).
The book includes stories from Italy and the kitchen at Felix Trattoria that add the finishing touches to this master class in pasta, while sumptuous photographs and a bold package offer a feast for the eyes.
Evan Funke is a master pasta maker and the chef owner of Felix Trattoria in Venice, California.
Katie Parla is a food writer and IACP award winning author whose work has appeared in numerous outlets, including the New York Times, Food & Wine, and Saveur. Eric Wolfinger is a James Beard Award winning food photographer.
Strichetti with Prosciutto, Arugula, and Tomatoes
Romagna is the often-overlooked neighbour to the east of Emilia. While it is home to beach resorts, such as Rimini and Riccione, its cuisine is definitely overshadowed by the globally revered food of Bologna, Modena, and Parma. That said, the dishes of Romagna are simple, satisfying, and easy to prepare, and this pasta is no exception. This is exactly the kind of dish I want to eat on the beach in Rimini, packed into a Tupperware™ and devoured at ambient temperature while sprawled under a beach umbrella.
4 TBSP [56 G] UNSALTED BUTTER
5 OZ [140 G] PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA, THINLY SLICED AND TORN INTO SLIGHTLY LARGER THAN BITE–SIZE PIECES
1½ PT [ABOUT 18 OZ, OR 510 G] CHERRY TOMATOES
4 OZ [113.5 G] ARUGULA, PLUS MORE FOR GARNISHING
1 RECIPE STRICHETTI (SEE BELOW)
1 CUP [100 G] FINELY GRATED PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter until frothy and golden. Add the prosciutto and cook until aromatic, about 15 seconds. Add the cherry tomatoes and season with salt. Cook just until softened. Add the arugula and toss to combine. Set the sauce aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Season the water with salt. When the salt dissolves, add the strichetti and cook until tender, 2½ to 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, return the sauce to medium heat. Using a spider, transfer the pasta to the sauce. Add about 2 Tbsp of pasta cooking water and toss vigorously to coat. Serve immediately with the Parmigiano-Reggiano sprinkled on top.
Makes about 710 g [25 oz], serving 6
1 recipe sfoglia all’uovo (see below), at room temperature
“00” flour, for dusting
Roll one dough ball to a thickness of 7 Post-it® Notes on a lightly floured work surface. Set an accordion pastry cutter to 2 in [5 cm]. Beginning at the bottom of the sfoglia, cut from east to west, creating 2 in [5 cm] strips. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut the sfoglia strips south to north into 3 in [7.5 cm] pieces. If you don’t have a fluted pastry cutter, use the accordion pastry cutter to cut the sfoglia into 3 in [7.5 cm] pieces. Clear away any scraps and add them to your maltagliatipile.
Cover the sfoglia with a clean, unscented plastic trash can liner, leaving the first row, closest to you, exposed. Position your index finger in the center of a pasta piece. Position your thumb and middle finger in line with the index finger at the bottom and top edge of the pasta piece, respectively. Gather the top and bottom edges and move them toward your index finger, creating two folds forming a valley with your index finger. Release your index finger and pinch only the peaks of the pasta together, ensuring a single thickness at the connection. This will create a tube through the middle of the shape, beneath the closure. Repeat with the remaining pasta pieces.
Transfer the shaped pasta to a clean work surface and let dry, uncovered, at room temperature, for 10 to 15 minutes. The strichetti are now ready to use, or you can dry them for future use: Set aside on a wooden surface, at room temperature, until completely dry, 2 to 3 hours. You can expedite the drying process by placing a fan near the pasta, avoiding direct air.
Meanwhile, repeat the process with the remaining dough ball.
The dried pasta will keep, at room temperature in an airtight container, for up to 2 weeks.
MAKES TWO 355 G [ABOUT 12.5 OZ] PASTA DOUGH BALLS, SERVING 6
The classic recipe for sfoglia all’uovo uses 100 g of flour per large egg. In Bologna, sfoglini eyeball these ingredients, making adjustments as needed until they can feel with their fingertips that the dough is perfectly developed, a sign it will roll out into a proper sfoglia. What they are really feeling is a dough that is hydrated and has reached the ideal balance of elasticity and extensibility. If a dough has too much elasticity, it will keep bouncing back and be impossible to roll out to the desired diameter—and, by extension, thinness. If, on the other hand, the dough is too extensible (too easy to push and pull), it is overly hydrated and it will be nearly impossible for it to hold its shape once rolled.
Unlike in American restaurant kitchens, in Bologna intense debates about hydration are “not a thing.” Bolognesi feel the dough and—with lots of practice—you may, too.
But here I think it’s essential to provide a more concrete recipe with fewer variables. After years of experimentation, I landed on a recipe that is easy to nail anywhere. It features a precise proportion of egg to flour, which results in a 57 percent hydration dough—hydration level refers to the proportion of liquid to flour—making it especially ideal for filled pasta such as tortellini.
The moisture from the egg hydrates the flour, activating the gluten. Meanwhile, the egg white and yolk provide protein and fat, respectively, lending strength, pliability, and elasticity. I have engineered the dough so all these features are in balance and the resulting pasta has the structure and strength needed for both cut and filled pasta shapes. To that end and as noted in “Measurements,” I use metric units ONLY for my Master Dough sfoglia recipes. Giving both the flour and egg measurements in grams ensures a better, more consistent result. Using grams also eliminates the variable of using whole eggs, which can vary slightly in weight.
454 g [1 lb] “00” flour, plus more for dusting
258 g [9.1 oz] eggs, beaten (see eggs, page 30, for measuring information)
MAKE THE PASTA DOUGH: Sift the flour onto your work surface and make an 8 in [20 cm] diameter well in the center. You should be able to see the work surface in the middle and the well’s walls should be high enough to contain the eggs.
Pour the eggs into the well. Working from the interior edge of the well, use a fork to incorporate a bit of the flour with the eggs. Continue incorporating a bit of flour at a time until the dough is the consistency of pancake batter. Clean off any flour mixture stuck to the fork and add it to the dough.
Using a bench scraper, scrape any remaining flour from the work surface into the dough. Working in a clockwise motion, cut the dough together as though you are making biscuits: scrape, fold, and cut (see previous spread). Continue working the dough until a shaggy mass forms, 2 to 3 minutes. Parts of the mass will be rather wet, while other parts will be floury. Scrape any dough from the bench scraper into the mass.
KNEAD THE PASTA DOUGH: With both hands, pull the far end of the dough toward you quickly and energetically, fold it over itself, then push it away from you using the heels of your palms. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and repeat the kneading for 3 to 5 minutes until the dough is a compact mass. The dough will be slightly tacky.
Using the bench scraper, scrape any dry bits of dough from your work surface and discard. Wash, but do not dry, your hands and continue kneading the dough as before until it is relatively smooth with a cellulite-like texture, an indication of gluten formation, 3 to 5 minutes more.
Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, seam-side up, and smooth out any air pockets. Set aside to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
SHAPE THE PASTA DOUGH: Unwrap the dough. Halve it with a sharp knife, cutting in a sawing motion. On a lightly floured surface, knead one piece of dough energetically with both hands, anchoring the dough with your non-dominant hand as you pull the far end of the dough toward you, then press down, through, and away, with your dominant hand. Turn the dough counterclockwise using your non-dominant hand, moving it as you knead in 1 to 2 in [2.5 to 5 cm] increments, like the hour markings on a clock.
If the dough feels too dry, spray it and your hands with water, a little at a time, until it loses its dryness. If you are closing the round ball and find the folded end (or back door) is not sealing, spray that with a touch of water to help it along. Continue kneading until the dough is soft and smooth all the way around, 3 to 5 minutes. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
Place each dough ball in the middle of its own piece of plastic wrap measuring about 12 in [30.5 cm] square. Working with one ball at a time, pull one corner of the plastic wrap up and lay it over the ball. Then, turning and rotating as you go, make 15 to 20 tiny pleated folds of plastic, almost like a candy wrapper, until the ball is fully and tightly sealed. The plastic wrap will follow the contour of the dough, which will create even pressure and support from all sides and prevent a flat surface or hard edge from developing when wrapping the dough. Set the dough balls aside to rest at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator before rolling.
The dough will keep, refrigerated and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days. Do not freeze it. Before rolling, set the wrapped dough on the counter and let it come to room temperature, about 30 minutes. This is a must for refrigerated egg doughs.
Recipe reprinted with permission from Chronicle Books.