Homemade garganelli with asparagus, Grana Padano sauce and black truffle
. Difficulty: Medium
. Serves: 4 people
. Preparation time: 50 minutes
. Variety: Pasta
If there is anything that I love more than cheese it’s homemade pasta, so the day that I share with you one of my favourite pasta recipes with Grana Padano cheese you should know it is a good one and save straight away!
I learned how to make Garganelli during the years I spent in the city of Imola, near Bologna. Garganelli is a handmade pasta similar to penne that is amazing when served in rich sauces. To make garganelli I use an enriched pasta dough with mostly egg yolks and, if not with a Bolognese sauce, I like to serve them with asparagus and a very tasty cheese sauce made with Grana Padano Riserva, aged over 20 months, a true umami flavour bomb.
A triumphant topping for this pasta dish is definitely a few shaves of summer truffle or a drop of truffle oil but if that is not available don’t despair, top with extra cheese and a few basil leaves and it will be equally delicious.
Chefs tip: to give the garganelli their traditional shape you need what in Italy is called ‘pettine per garganelli’, aka a pasta comb. If you can’t find one of these you can use a wooden butter paddle and a little wooden stick.
Ingredients20 long green asparagus
100 g of grated Grana Padano ‘Riserva’ for the sauce
300 ml of fresh cream
20 g of unsalted butter
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
80 g of black/summer truffle (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Grana Padano Riserva to garnish
For the yolk pasta
500 g of 00 pasta flour
200 g of egg yolk
1 whole egg
PreparationStart with your pasta. Knead the flour and eggs until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Wrap with film and leave to rest for about 30 minutes. Then proceed to roll the dough into thin pasta sheets. If you have a wooden board great, if you don’t a clean surface will work.
Slice the pasta into thick sheets and flatten them with a rolling pin. With the help of a pasta machine, roll the pasta out. (This can also be done by hand using a rolling pin and elbow grease) Pass the dough gradually from the largest setting to the narrower setting to make very thin pasta sheets. To make garganelli I am usually happy to use the setting just before the thinnest as I like them to have a little ‘bite’.
Then cut 1 pasta sheets into ¾ cm squares and cover the sheets you are not using straight away with film to avoid them drying out. To stop the pasta sticking, refrain from dusting the work surface with flour or you will find it difficult to roll and shape the garganelli.
Roll each pasta square on itself lengthwise on the ‘pasta comb’ using the little wooden stick as rolling pin. This process is much easier to do than to explain! This step will create something similar to penne but much more beautiful.
Shaping all the garganelli is a time-consuming process but I also find it therapeutic and relaxing. Once they are all done set them aside on a tray with parchment paper. They can also be frozen and cooked straight from the freezer
Trim off the woody ends of the asparagus stalks, and peel the bottom of the remaining stalks with a potato peeler. Cut the spears into 3 cm pieces and set aside
In a saucepan, gently heat up the cream and stir in the grated Grana Padano Riserva when boiling and remove from the heat. The cheese should melt gently in the hot cream. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper
In a sauce pan, brown the smashed garlic cloves with the butter and a drizzle of oil and then add the asparagus. Season to taste and cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Now cook the garganelli in salted boiling water for about 2/3 minutes and drain directly into the asparagus’ pan. Add a ladle of cooking water and stir and toss the pasta into the pan with the asparagus
Then pour a couple of spoonfuls of the hot Grana Padano sauce into shallow pasta bowls and top with the garganelli. Garnish with fresh summer truffle and extra grated Grana Padano. Mix well and enjoy!