FEBRUARY 11, 2013

MEET THE SOUS CHEF

JOSH LAURANO, EXECUTIVE CHEF, TARRY MARKET, PORT CHESTER, NY

“I was kind of like the Alex P. Keaton of the family,” says Tarry Market’s executive chef, Josh Laurano. “My parents were total hippies--my dad even owned a vegetarian restaurant when I was a kid--but all I wanted was white bread and junk food.”

In his twenties, Laurano ditched a career in the fine-art business to attend culinary school. His first job was at Lupa, the Roman restaurant in New York City owned by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, and he has continued to work for the duo since, at Del Posto, then Babbo, and now as executive chef at Tarry Market in Port Chester, New York.

“I think it’s safe to say that after all these years, I’ve absorbed the Italian ideology,” he says. That ethos is captured in his recipe for fresh pasta hankerchiefs, known as fazzoletti, topped with a simple pesto containing broccoli rabe, roasted garlic and Parmesan cheese. If you don’t want to make your own pasta, the pesto can also be used on dry pasta, or simply slathered on toasted bread.

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See Recipe See the recipe for Josh Laurano's Fazzoletti with Broccoli Rabe Pesto

DAY IN THE LIFE

TIPS & TECHNIQUES

Use Your Noodle

For those new to making pasta, Laurano advises that practice is key: “The more you make it, the better you’ll become.” He uses all-purpose flour for his pasta dough, rather than the double-zero flour favored by some cooks, but recommends buying the freshest eggs possible. A pasta-making attachment for his KitchenAid stand mixer makes short work of the rolling, but Laurano says that a rolling pin works too--it just takes longer and requires more elbow grease.

The Best Pesto

Laurano’s alternative version of pesto contains no basil. Instead, his pesto is a simple mixture containing broccoli rabe, Parmesan cheese and roasted garlic. If you don’t want to make fresh pasta, the pesto is excellent tossed with cooked, dry pasta (Laurano recommends orecchiette) or spread on toasted bread.

MAKE THE
Fazzoletti with Broccoli Rabe Pesto

YIELD

4 servings

INGREDIENTS

Pasta

All-purpose flour, 3½ cups, plus extra for kneading and rolling

Extra-large eggs, 4 to 6 (use the freshest eggs you can find)

Pesto

Garlic, 6 cloves (4 whole and unpeeled and 2 peeled and thinly sliced)

Extra-virgin olive oil, 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon

Kosher salt, 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon plus a pinch

Freshly ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon plus a pinch

Ice

Broccoli rabe, 1 bunch (tough bottom portion of stalks removed)

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, 4 ounces (finely grated--about 1 cup)

Semolina flour, for rolling the pasta

Ricotta salata or Pecorino Romano cheese, one 2-ounce piece (finely grated, about ½ cup)

EQUIPMENT

Cutting board

Chef's knife

Measuring cups and spoons

Box grater

Stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment

Rubber spatula

Plastic wrap

Aluminum foil

Mixing bowls

Large pot

Tongs

Slotted spoon

Kitchen towels

Large plate

Food processor

Pasta roller attachment for stand mixer or a hand-crank pasta roller

Rimmed baking sheet

Pizza wheel

Large skillet

Colander

Ladle

Microplane-style grater

DIRECTIONS

1. Make the pasta dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add:

  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour

Start mixing the flour on low speed. One at a time, add the:

  • Extra-large eggs

Mix well between each addition, stopping the mixer and using the rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, until the dough comes together. (If, after adding the first 4 eggs, the dough is still dry or not coming together, add the extra eggs one at a time, mixing well between each, until the dough comes together. If the dough feels too wet and slack, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.)

Remove the dough from the mixer and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until the dough is soft and smooth, 4 to 6 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. While the dough rests, roast the garlic for the pesto: Preheat the oven to 350°. Set a 4-inch square of aluminum foil on the work surface. Add the:

  • 4 whole garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • A pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Loosely wrap the garlic in the foil, and roast in the oven until the garlic is very soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the foil packet from the oven, carefully open the foil and let the garlic cool for 20 minutes before squeezing the garlic from the cloves and into a small bowl.

3. Make the pesto: Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside. To a large pot of boiling water, add:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Trimmed broccoli rabe

Cook until the broccoli rabe is bright green and begins to become limp, about 30 seconds. Use the tongs to transfer the broccoli rabe to the bowl filled with ice and water. Once the broccoli rabe is cool, use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible, then transfer the broccoli rabe to a kitchen towel-lined plate to drain.

4. To the bowl of a food processor, add the blanched and drained broccoli rabe and the:

  • Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Roasted garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Process until the mixture is smooth, 15 to 20 seconds. Scrape the pesto into a medium bowl and set aside.

5. Roll the pasta: If using a stand mixer to roll the pasta, attach the pasta roller attachment and set it to the thickest setting (setting number 1). If using a hand-crank pasta roller, then set up the roller on the work surface and adjust to the thickest setting (setting number 1).

Remove the pasta dough from the refrigerator, unwrap and place on a cutting board. Slice the pasta crosswise into 3 equal pieces. Set 2 pieces aside and cover with a kitchen towel so they don't dry out. Dust the remaining piece of dough with:

  • All-purpose flour

Use your hands to press the dough into a flat oval shape and run it through the attachment. Repeat until the dough forms a long rectangle and holds together nicely, about 4 times. Adjust the setting to number 3 and roll through again, taking care not to overstretch the dough. After passing the dough through 4 times, increase the setting to number 4. Run it through once more, then lay it on the cutting board and dust it with some of the:

  • Semolina flour

Fold the dough lengthwise to create a center seam, unfold and then, using a pizza wheel or a knife, divide the dough into 2 long strips. Cut the dough crosswise into 3-inch squares (they can be irregular) to make fazzoletti. Dust with more semolina, place on a semolina-dusted baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough (it's okay to stack the pasta squares; just make sure that there is enough semolina to keep the pasta from sticking together).

6. Make the pasta: Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the:

  • Remaining 2 tablespoons kosher salt

Add the fazzoletti pasta squares and cook until they are al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. As they float to the surface, use the slotted spoon to transfer the fazzoletti to a colander to drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water to make the sauce.

To a large skillet set over medium heat, add:

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves sliced garlic

Once the garlic starts to sizzle, after about 1 minute, add the broccoli rabe pesto and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Add the cooked fazzoletti to the skillet with the broccoli rabe pesto and toss to coat each square with pesto. To thin the sauce even more, add more of the pasta water as needed. Divide the fazzoletti among 4 plates and serve sprinkled with the:

  • Grated ricotta salata cheese
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