I can't resist adding more color to an already colorful array of squashes, bright yellow, bright green, palest green...when I can get my greedy little hands on blossoms I add them in in abundance..(in recipe), and when I can get nasturtiums, I think they are the most perfect garnish ever. Mine did not return this year so I have to steal some from these people down the block. I've been experimenting with making my own pasta, I just got a pasta roller last week as a gift. I've included my recipe for saffron pasta, but you can use regular fresh pasta, even supermarket fresh pasta will work. —Aliwaks
best freshest eggs
2 cups "00" flour
Pinch fine salt
hadnfull or so of semolina flour or if you have to, all purpose
3 or 4
threads saffron soaked in hot water (optional)
chicken or vegetable stock
squeeze fresh lemon
pinch red pepper flakes
assorted summer squashes, julienned
fresh basil (purple if you can find it)
Soak saffron threads in 2 tablespoons of hot water.
Put flour on clean surface or in a very large bowl. Lacking clean surfaces (I have naughty cats), well surfaces in general (no counter space), I use a HUGE stainless steel mixing bowl.
Make a little well in the center of the flour, it should look sort of like flat wide volcano.
Whisk the saffron water and salt into the eggs.
Pour the eggs in to the well in the center and start mixing around with your index and middle finger, slowing pulling in the flour from the sides of the walls. Letting it collapse into itself slowly. If it is too stiff , you can add dribbles of warm water till it all comes together.
Once it has come together, knead gently but firmly, you'll feel the gluten come together as you work the dough, it will become smooth and shiny and more elastic (I love that part).
Shape into a disk and refridgerate for an hour.
Remove dough from fridge cut into 8 quarters with a plastic pastry cutter or really whatever you have, if you have someone helping you on a long table you can cut it in fourths. I have a strange dance and drape thing I have to do rolling out the dough.
Set pasta roller on 1. Roll out 1 section, fold it in thirds, roll it out again, fold it in thirds roll it out again. Now set to 2, and roll it out, then move to 3... keep going until you get to 7.
If you have the attachment that makes fettuchine, cut the pasta after it's gone through 7. If you don't you can lay the pasta sheets out on a parchment & semolina covered sheet tray and cut them yourself with a sharp knife. If you like things to be perfect you can use a ruler as a guide, they should be about 8 inches long.
Cover each layer with parchment paper to keep them from drying out too much.
Before boiling give the pasta a bit of a "juzdge" to make sure the don't stick together.
Put on a pot of heavily salted water for pasta.
Slice garlic and sweat in olive oil till just translucent. DON'T let it brown. Add half the lemon zest, the chicken stock, wine and saffron and let it reduce by half. If you'll like this on the spicy side add red pepper flakes now, otherwise save to garnish at the end or leave out altogether.
While sauce is reducing, julienne the squash blossoms reserving 1 for garnish, you don't want them to sit very long cut or they will wilt too quickly. Taste and season remembering that you will be adding salt via the pasta water and cheese.
Once sauce has reduced add blossoms and squash to sauce, stir around, keeping flame low, cover and drop pasta in to boiling water.
Drop pasta and give it a good stir, should take no more than 3-4 minutes until its done. Remove and reserve a ladleful of water before draining pasta.
Add pasta to sauce and stir until completely coated. Add the pasta water, plus 2 tablespoons of cheese, plus the reserved uncut blossom. Heat and let cook another 2 minutes so the pasta has the opportunity to absorb the sauce.
Remove from heat, add fresh herbs and remaining cheese, a bit of of fresh ground pepper and toss well. Find the whole squash blossom and put it on top. Additional garnishes: edible flowers and purple basil if you have them.