Ricotta Triangoli with Preserved Lemon, Summer Squash and Mint
Created by Thomas McNaughton of Flour + Water – San Francisco, CA
- 1 cup ricotta
- 2 tbsps freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1 tbsp minced fresh mint
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 well-packed cups unsifted 00 flour (360 grams)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup egg yolks (5 to 6 yolks)
- 1½ tsps extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 or 9 squash blossoms
- 1 tbsp preserved Meyer lemon peel, finely minced
- ¾ cup unsalted butter (142 grams)
- ½ cup diced mixed yellow and green summer squash (62 grams)
- ¼ cup fresh mint cut into chiffonade (85 grams – measured after mint is cut)
- 1 tbsp minced fresh Italian parsley
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup shelled pistachios, toasted, cooled, and finely chopped (40 grams)
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for finishing
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
To make the filling.
- Take ricotta out of its liquid. In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta with the rest of the filling ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
To make the dough:
Step 1: Mixing
- To start, place flour on a dry, clean work surface, forming a mound about 8 to 10 inches in diameter at its base. Sprinkle salt in the middle of the mound. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, create a well 4 to 5 inches wide, with at least a half-inch of flour on the bottom of the well.
- Slowly and carefully add the wet ingredients (eggs and olive oil) into the well, treating the flour as a bowl. Using a fork, gently beat the eggs without touching the flour walls or scraping through the bottom to the work surface.
- Then, still stirring, begin to slowly incorporate the flour “walls” into the egg mixture, gradually working your way towards the outer edges of the flour, but disturbing the base as little as possible. If the eggs breach the sides too soon, quickly scoop them back in and reform the wall. Once the dough starts to take on a thickened, paste-like quality (slurry), slowly incorporate the flour on the bottom into the mixture.
- When the slurry starts to move as a solid mass, remove as much as possible from the fork. Slide a bench scraper or spatula under the mass of dough and flip it and turn it into itself to clear any wet dough from the work surface.
- At this point, with your hands, start folding and forming the dough into a single mass. The goal is to incorporate all flour into the mass. Using a spray bottle to liberally spritz the dough with water is essential. It is very dry dough and it cannot be overstated how important it is to generously and constantly spritz to help “glue” any loose flour to the dry dough ball.
- When the dough forms a stiff, solid mass, scrape away any dried clumps of flour from the work surface, which, if incorporated in the dough, will create dry spots in the final product.
Step 2: Kneading
- Kneading is an essential step in the dough-making process. It realigns the protein structure of the dough so that it develops properly during the resting stage that follows.
- Kneading is simple! Drive the heel of your dominant hand into the dough. Push down and release, and then use your other hand to pick up and rotate the dough on itself 45 degrees. Drive the heel of your hand back into the dough, rotate and repeat for 10-15 minutes.
- Pasta is easy to underknead but virtually impossible to overknead (unlike bread, where each type has its sweet spot or ideal kneading time). That said, even though the dough cannot be overkneaded, it can spend too much time on the worktable—and, as a direct result, start to dehydrate and be more difficult to form into its final shape. For best results, 10-15 minutes is a solid guideline. When the dough is ready, it will stop changing appearance and texture. The dough will be firm but bouncy to the touch and have a smooth, silky surface, almost like Play-Doh. Tightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap.
- Dust two baking sheets with semolina flour and set aside.
To make the pasta:
- Using a pasta machine, roll out the dough until sheet is just translucent. Cut a 2-foot section of the dough sheet and cover the rest of the dough with plastic wrap.
- Cut the sheet of dough into 3-inch squares with a straight wheel cutter, or a knife and ruler. Using a piping bag or spoon, place a heaping teaspoon of the filling in the middle of each square, leaving ¼ inch of dough bare around the edges.
- Fold the filled square so the opposite corners meet, pressing to create a triangle. Use a quick spritz of water from a spray bottle to help seal it, if necessary. Gently but firmly, seal the top corner and remove the air pocket by moving your fingers down the sides from the point simultaneously, caressing the filling to make a tight, airless pillow. With a fluted cutter, trim the pasta along the two edges, leaving about ¼ inch of pasta around the filling.
- Working quickly, place the triangoli on the prepared baking sheets, spaced apart. Don’t let the triangoli touch each other or they may stick together. Repeat until you run out of dough or filling. You should get 30 to 40 pieces.
- Bring a large pot of seasoned water to a boil.
- Clean the squash blossoms by pinching just above the base and twisting to separate the delicate leaves from the core. Tear each squash blossom leaf lengthwise by hand into four or five smaller pieces, and set aside.
- Rinse the diced preserved lemon peel under cold running water. Drain and set aside on a paper towel.
- Drop the pasta in boiling water.
- Add the butter to a cold 12-inch sauté pan and place over high heat. When melted, add ½ cup of the seasoned pasta water, the preserved lemons, and the yellow and green squash. Bring to a simmer over high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the pasta is cooked 80 percent through, until almost al dente, 2 to 3 minutes, transfer to the saucepan with a handheld strainer and stir to incorporate. Reserve the pasta water. Continue to simmer to reduce the sauce and create an emulsion until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. When the pasta is tender, 2 to 3 minutes, add the squash blossoms, mint, parsley, and lemon juice. Toss to combine.
- To serve, divide the pasta and sauce between four plates. Garnish with the chopped pistachios and freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.