Semolina Pasta With Four-Cheese Sauce

We used 2 cookbooks for this dish. The pasta recipe is from Cooking with Seasons, which redeemed itself from the disasterous mole recipe, and the sauce recipe is from 50 Great Pasta Sauces. I’d skip buying both of these cookbooks, and just use the recipes posted here. The sauce cookbook is pretty basic, and not much sounds good to us. If you already cook Italian cuisine you already make or have a cookbook with similar recipes. I guess if you are a novice at Italian cooking, this one might be a good purchase, but I would highly recommend you actually browse the cookbook before purchasing it, because I still don’t think that most of the recipes sound spectacular.

The pasta recipe was a pleasant surprise. The pasta turned out wonderful, which is great, because this recipe has far fewer calories, fat and cholesterol than the traditional egg based dough recipes. Now we just have to figure out the proper proportions to make spinach semolina pasta. Of course all these “savings” from the semolina pasta over the egg pasta are negated with the scrumptious cheese sauce, that’s not low cal or low fat.
Semolina Pasta:

2 cups semolina flour or 1 cup unbleached flour and 1 cup semolina flour

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)

1 egg white

water as needed

The instructions from the recipe are in italics:

1. Blend the flours in a bowl and make a well in the center.

Add the olive oil and egg white and mix with a fork.

2. Gradually mix in up to a 1/2 cup water until the dough can be pressed together into a solid ball.

We blended 2 cups of semolina flour only with the olive oil, egg white, and water in the mixer with the dough hook on. It ended up pretty crumbly, but once the dough got onto the pastry board we use it was easy to make into a ball and begin kneading.

3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it for a few minutes. The dough should come cleanly away from the surface. If it is too wet, incorporate flour 1 TBSP at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. If the dough is dry and crumbly incorporate water until it is pliable.4. Knead the dough about 3 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

5. Wrap the dough in a towel and let it rest for 15 minutes before rolling it out.

We skipped step #5.

6. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Work with 1 piece at a time, keeping the other pieces in the towel.

Keep water nearby as well, as it seems like the dough dries out faster than the egg doughs. This could just be operator error, but that will take another time making it to determine :)

7. Flatten the first piece and lightly flour both sides. Set the knob of the pasta machine’s roller for the widest setting. Pass the dough through the feeder, cranking the rollers with one hand and catching the dough with the other.

8. On a lightly floured surface, fold the piece into thirds and press down to flatten it. Run it lengthwise through the machine once more. Repeat the process 2 more times, folding the dough into thirds each time.

9. Adjust the control to the next smaller setting, and feed the entire sheet through the machine, without folding. Repeat, narrowing the setting each time, until the desired thickness is achieved-usually to the second to last setting. Flour the dough as necessary to prevent it from sticking. Continue with remaining pieces of dough.

We made spaghetti with the dough and the final setting on the roller was #5 (it’s a KitchenAid pasta roller which works on their mixers.) The order of roller numbers is #1, then #3, then finally #5.

10. Let noodles dry slightly on a drying rack or laid flat over towels or cook promptly is generously salted water for 2-3 minutes.

The cooking time is pretty accurate. Be sure to check at 2 minutes.

Four-Cheese Sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese or fresh mozzarella

2 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese (can substitute cottage cheese)

1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme)Salt and Pepper to taste

Top with basil and parmesan cheese

Note: we actually doubled the sauce to make a super creamy sauce for 1 pound of pasta. The recipe as written doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sauce.

1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, fontina, Gorgonzola and ricotta. You can substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta. I know it sounds strange but it works–I took out our ricotta, opened it up and discovered the seal was broken, so we substituted with the cottage cheese and it was tasty.

2. Warm slowly over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheeses have melted. Stir in the thyme, salt and pepper.

3. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the past until al dente. Transfer cooked pasta into the cheese sauce sauce pan and mix or put pasta into a large serving bowl and combine with sauce. Garnish with parmesan and basil.

Viola

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Cooking with Seasons Cookbook Rating

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50 Great Pasta Sauces Cookbook Rating

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Semolina Pasta Recipe
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Four-Cheese Sauce Recipe

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