This is a certainly a delicious and unique first course where the mountain flavors meet the sea. Buckwheat flour, a typical mountain flour, with a strong, almost bitter taste, blends very well with the sweet flavor of prawns. This is an ideal dish to represent the geographical differences of Italy.
This is a nutritious, simple and appetizing dish. Buckwheat is not a cereal grain (like most people think), but it is a fruit related to rhubarb and sorrel, making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains containing gluten. This recipe, however, is not gluten free, because it contains a small amount of wheat flour. Buckwheat has been linked to reducing cholesterol levels, to lowering blood pressure, and to a lot of other health benefits because it is rich in protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins.
The most laborious part of this recipe is preparing the fresh buckwheat pasta. Actually I suggest that you do it as a family weekend activity. I often make fresh pasta with my kids, they love it, and everyone has a different task: one kneads the dough and the other rolls out the pasta. I often prepare homemade fresh pasta using Italian Grade 00 flour and a few years ago I tried preparing fresh tagliatelle with a combination of buckwheat (about 75%) and wheat flour (about 25%). I tried to lower the amount of wheat flour to less than 20% but it did not work too well. In fact, buckwheat is a gluten free flour, therefore the dough is less elastic than whole wheat flour, and the pasta can easily fall apart. It is a little bit more difficult to work, but is worth trying. Your pasta dish will be mouth-watering and healthy. If you are not an expert pasta maker, try increasing the amount of regular flour up to 35%.
TAGLIATELLE DI GRANO SARACENO CON CODE DI GAMBERO (BUCKWHEAT PASTA WITH PRAWNS)
225 g (1 ¼ cups) buckwheat flour
75 g (1/2 cup) Italian Grade 00 flour or all-purpose flour
3 medium eggs
20 prawns, shelled and deveined
4 tablespoons olive oil (Extra Virgin)
2-3 garlic cloves, whole
50 ml (scarce ¼ cup) dry white wine
½ tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
½ tablespoon chives, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Prepare the pasta. In a large bowl mix both flours well. Pour the flour mix onto a working surface and make a hole in the center. Wash the eggs under running water and crack into the well. Beat the eggs with a fork for 1-2 minutes, then gradually blend the flour into the eggs, starting from the inner wall of the well and continuing until all the flour and the eggs are completely combined. When the dough reaches a certain consistency and is easy to work with your hands, begin to knead until the dough is smooth (about 7-8 minutes). Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes in a cool place.
2. You can roll out the dough either with a pasta machine (see recipe for fresh egg pasta) or by hand, as tradition would have it. The traditional method can be somewhat difficult, because this type of dough is not very elastic, so I suggest the machine method: Start out using the widest setting. Run the pasta through for about 5-6 times until the dough is smooth. If the sheet tears dust it with flour. Continue to run each sheet through the machine, reducing the thickness a notch at a time, until you reach the desired thickness about about 1.5 mm, 1/16 in. (notch n.5 out of 7). Place the tagliatelle on a pasta hanger or on a floured wooden surface.
3. Wash the prawns and pat dry with some kitchen paper. Set aside
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta for 3-4 minutes until al dente. Fresh pasta doesn’t need long time to cook
5. In the meantime while the water is heating up, heat the olive olive and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat, remove garlic when is lightly brown. Add the prawns. Saute for a 1 minute on medium heat. Add the wine and let it evaporate on high heat for 1 minute. Prawns are done when they turn pink and have just curled into a C-shape, instead if they have twisted into an O-shape are terribly, irreparably overcooked. Overcooked prwans are rubbery
6. Turn off the heat, add the herbs and some pepper to taste
7. Before draining pasta reserve 50 ml (1/4 cup) of cooking water. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Add the water and toss gently. Serve immediately. – Paola