Fresh Tagliatelle with Broccoli Rabe & Cheese Sauce
For the pasta ~
4 large free-range or organic eggs
2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for dusting
For the cheese sauce ~
1 cup whipping cream
5 ounces of sliced Fontina cheese
5 ounces of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 bunch of broccoli rabe (rapini)
2 large free-range or organic egg yolks
a small bunch of fresh herbs, leaves picked
(I used thyme and flat leaf parsley, but a number of other fresh herbs would be great too ~ like fresh oregano, marjoram or summer savory)
The beauty of this dish is partly its mere simplicity. The sauce ingredients warm slowly right in your serving bowl which is set directly on top of your pot of boiling water. How clever is that? I used a nice large pot for the water and chose a shallow, but large bowl which would rest well on top of the pot, without touching the water. This would really be a fast and delicious dish if you didn't have the time to make the homeade pasta. Just buy some of the nice fresh pasta in the refrigerated section of the store (or I'm sure it would be great with frozen tortellini or gnocchi ).
Crack the eggs into the food processor and add the flour and a generous pinch of salt. Whiz it up until it starts to rumble. The dough comes together really fast. Touch it. If it's sticky, add a bit more flour and pulse it again.
Take the dough out of the processor and shape it into a ball. Knead it a few times on a floured surface with floured hands. Divide it into four equal parts. Run each of the four pieces of dough through a pasta machine, moving the rollers closer together each time (about 4 or 5 times) until you have 4 silky smooth, thin sheets. Dust each sheet well with flour and fold each one over and cut into 1/2 inch wide ribbons. Gather the ribbons together with a little flour and toss them between your fingers to make your pile of tagliatelle.
In your pasta bowl, place the Fontina and Parmesan cheeses, the cream, salt and pepper. Place the bowl on top of your pot of water. Bring the water to a boil. The cream and cheese will begin to melt nicely. In the meantime, cut the dry ends off of the rapini. I also cut the stalks diagonally or split some of the thicker stalks with a knife so that they cook evenly. Leave the florets whole. When the water comes to a boil, set the pasta bowl aside and add a generous amount of salt to the water (heaping tablespoon or so) and the rapini. While the rapini starts to cook, lightly beat the two egg yolks with the fresh herbs and add the mixture to the warm cheese sauce. Mix well. Add the pasta to the pot when the water returns to a boil. Cook the pasta and the greens in the water until aldente. It only takes a few minutes for the pasta to cook.
Drain the pasta and the greens in colander. Reserve some pasta water in case you need to loosen the sauce. Add the drained pasta and rapini to the cheese sauce and mix well. The egg will cook from the heat of the pasta. Toss again to to be sure that every strand is coated with this glorious cheesy and delicious sauce. I found that the sauce was at first a little loose and then thickened up a bit and absorbed into the homemade pasta perfectly. I did not need to add any pasta water. Jamie Oliver suggests finishing the dish with some additional freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. I found it to be perfect with no futher enhancements. Buon Appetito!