I can honestly say that some of the best Italian I have eaten outside of Italy has come from America and my feelings were only too right after eating at the infamous Flour + Water in San Francisco last month.
I am one of those creepy people in a restaurant that longingly and lovingly stares into the kitchen. Hoping to see what I don’t know but seeing chefs work their magic and I am the happiest Holly around. Flour + Water was no exception, especially when you see the head chef and co-creator, Thomas McNaughton run the pass. Yes I asked him to sign my recently purchased cookbook of theirs and yes he signed it, ‘Keep it al dente’. I die.
This recipe may be a challenge for some but give it a go. The flavours speak for themselves here so it’s hard to go wrong. A labour of love that I think (and the fiance thinks!) is well worth the effort.
Adapted from San Francisco’s Flour + Water
1/2 cup mozzarella, grated
1/4 cup parmesan, grated
Juice and zest from 1 lemon
Salt and pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper
2 cups OO flour plus extra for dusting
5 egg yolks
2tsp olive oil
Pre heat the oven to 180.
Cut your eggplants lengthways and lightly crisscross the flesh. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 20 minutes.
Once cooked, the flesh should be soft and golden. Scoop out the flesh and blend in a food processor until smooth. While the mixture is still hot add the cheese, lemon and salt and pepper, stirring until the cheese has melted. Keep in the fridge until you are ready for it.
For your tomato sauce, lightly fry the garlic in olive oil until it starts to colour slightly. Add the whole cherry tomatoes into the pan until the skin splits. This should only take 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and blend in a food processor or hand held blender until smooth. Add the sugar and season to taste. Put aside until you are ready to plate up.
Now, the pasta.
Using a stand still mixer:
Add all the ingredients to the bowl and on speed 4 with the dough attachment let the mixer works it magic for 8-10 minutes or until the dough is soft and silken. If the mixture is very sticky add a little extra flour.
Using your hands:
Mix together the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre of your bowl. Add the eggs, yolks and olive oil to the centre and mix through until a dough is formed. Roll your doll out onto a floured surface and kneed for 10-12 minutes or until you dough is silken.
Wrap with glad wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Work the pasta through thickness 6 of your pasta maker. Using a 8-10cm round cutting mould cut out your circles, flouring as you go. Spoon 2/3 of a tsp of the eggplant mixture into the middle of the mezzalune circles and fold the circle in half gently squeezing the edges together removing any air pockets.
Using a fork, press down on the edges to create a crinkled look.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Transfer the tomato sauce to a fry pan and heat through on a low heat. Once the water is rapidly boiling gently drop in all the mezzalune. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the water and place into the tomato sauce. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
Serve with basil and extra parmesan. Absolutely simple and delicious flavours.