I have a lot of favorite pasta shapes…fusilli lunghi, orecchiette, linguine, bucatini…but these days I’m in love with garganelli.
Lots of Italians believe some shapes only go with some sauces and some shapes would never go with other sauces. i.e. orecchiette is great with broccoli rabe and sausage; linguine with a clam sauce; bucatini with the Sicilian “pasta con le sarde” (sardines) sauce.
Garganelli might typically marry with cream and prosciutto, or hang out with a duck ragu, but coat it with a fresh tomato sauce and it’s still says perfect. Originally from the Emilia-Romagna region (where I’m taking my cooking class students this year), it’s a hand-shaped pasta made from an egg pasta dough.
It’s easy to make. But you’ll need a gnocchi board. And a pencil, or not-too-thick dowel. Some gnocchi boards come with a dowel for making this pasta.
We made it my class this week and newbies became experts super-quick.
Full recipe below. I pair it with my other new favorite: artichoke & pancetta sauce. But here are some tips for making the garganelli shape.
After you roll out your dough to pretty thin (about a 4 on the pasta machine rollers), cut the dough into 1-1.5-inch squares. Lay the square, turned to look like a diamond, at one end of the gnocchi board.
Lay the pencil or dowel at the tip nearest you and roll up the dough along the pencil, pressing it against the groves of the gnocchi board.
If it sticks to the board, add a little flour to the board and/or the dough piece. But not too much — you want the dough ends to stick together.
They’re super-fun to make, and I LOVE the taste. Yes, I do think that different pasta shapes, despite the sauce they’re in, taste differently. Just chewing through a forkful of spaghetti strands makes a different eating experience than a few penne in your mouth.
I hope you’ll try it — and if you do — let me know how it goes!
Fresh Garganelli Pasta w Roman Artichoke & Pancetta Sauce
For the Pasta:
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
For the Sauce:
12 ounces, frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
olive oil for sautéing, plus more for drizzling
1 large shallot, peeled and diced
4 ounces pancetta, diced
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper to taste
Make the Pasta:
Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Create a “well” in the middle of the flour and add the eggs. Using a fork slowly mix the flour into the egg, until the dough comes together and all the flour is mixed in. Gather the dough and knead it on a lightly floured surface. If it’s too sticky add a little flour. Knead for about 5 minutes until smooth. Shape into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest at room temp for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into four pieces. Work with one piece at a time and keep the other pieces covered in plastic wrap. Flatten the dough into a rough rectangle, and roll through the pasta machine, changing the numbers from thick to thinner (lower to higher) one at a time until you reach the second to last setting.
Lay the sheet on a table. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut into 1 inch by 1 inch squares (doesn’t have to be perfect!) Turn square so that you’re looking at a diamond shape. Using a pencil (or other small wooden rod) gently fold the bottom point of the diamond around the pencil. Then lay pencil and dough on a gnocchi board. Roll up the rest of the dough onto the pencil while pressing it on the gnocchi board until you form a tube. Gently slide the tube off the pencil and repeat with the rest of the dough. Place finished garganelli on a floured sheet pan.
Make the Sauce: Slice the artichokes hearts into 4 or 5 slices per heart. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shallot and pancetta. Cook until shallot is softened and pancetta is cooked through. Add the sliced artichoke hearts. Add a little more olive oil if too dry. Cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Season with salt & pepper. Add cream and toss to coat.
When pasta is done, reserve a half cup of pasta water, then drain pasta and add pasta to skillet with artichoke sauce. Stir to coat pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes until flavors combine. Add a little pasta water if it needs moistening. Serve hot. Add some grated cheese to individual servings.