Corzetti Stampati agli Spinaci con Gorgonzola
Spinach Corzetti with Gorgonzola Sauce
This is Part 3 of a series – The Corzetti Files
For detailed information and photo essays on how to make corzetti, along with recipes, please delve further into The Corzetti Files:
Well, it is all about Christmas now, and that means special pasta dishes. In years past I have served filled pastas such as ravioli, caramelle, or sometimes tortellini, but this year I decided to break with tradition and serve corzetti stampati, Liguria’s embossed pasta coins. Also known as croxetti, these embossed pasta circles have a history that stretches back to the glory days of La Serenissima Repubblica di Genova, The Serene Republic of Genoa, an independent state based in present day Liguria. I thought green corzetti would be particularly in keeping with the season, so I decided to make spinach pasta dough for them.
Corzetti are cut using a most ingenious two piece wooden tool, la stampa. The bottom of one piece is used like a cookie cutter to cut a round piece of pasta. The top of the cutting piece and the bottom of the second piece are artfully carved and are used to imprint the pasta coins.
After the initial pasta round is cut, it is pressed firmly between the two carved sides to produce an embossed design – an edible woodcut. The stamps display coats of arms and family names, sheaves of wheat, Christian crosses, palm trees and many other designs. This design is functional as well as decorative; the textured finish of the pasta helps hold its accompanying condimento, or sauce. For more on this very unique pasta, and a photo essay to learn to make corzetti, see Part 1 and Part 2 of my series.
Corzetti stamps can be difficult to find, but in America we are fortunate to have among us, Terry Mirri of Artisanal Pasta Tools. Visit his site at Artisanal Pasta Tools. He fashions implements used to make corzetti, garganelli and passatelli along with rolling pins and polenta boards in his Sonoma, California woodwork shop. Terry’s tools ensure that the tradition of handmade Italian foods will not be lost.
Dressed with a luxurious sauce of butter, Gorgonzola dolce, heavy cream and Parmigiano Reggiano, this is a particularly indulgent way to eat your spinach. If you want a quick sauce, these are absolutely delightful tossed with butter and topped with Parmigiano and toasted pignoli.
Corzetti agli Spinaci con Gorgonzola dolce
Spinach corzetti with Gorgonzola Sauce
8 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon olive oil
Gorgonzola dolce Sauce
4 oz. gorgonzola cheese at warm room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
salt and white pepper
chopped Italian parsley
Thaw unwrapped spinach in strainer set over bowl. When thawed, squeeze spinach to remove as much liquid as possible. And I do mean squeeze! You should wind up with roughly 3/4 cup liquid, and a scant 4 ounces of spinach. Discard liquid.
Place drained spinach in workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade. Pulse10 times to chop. Add flour. Pulse several times to combine thoroughly.
Combine eggs, egg yolks and olive oil in small measuring cup. Beat lightly. With processor running pour all of the egg mixture through feed tube. Scrape all of the egg mixture into workbowl. Mixture will gather and form a ball, cleaning sides of work bowl. Process 40 seconds.
Turn out onto floured board, knead briefly and wrap in plastic. Set aside for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Cut off 1/4 of dough, and keeping the remaining wrapped, roll to #4 thickness on pasta machine. (I use an Atlas.)
Cut and imprint corzetti. Place cut corzetti on semolina or flour lined towels and cover until ready to cook. Repeat with remaining dough.
When ready to cook, bring 6 quarts water to a rolling boil. Add generous 1/4 cup coarse sea salt. (You must salt the water generously – remember there is no salt in this pasta.) When water returns to the boil, drop corzetti in, stirring once. Cook briefly, 2 to 3 minutes.
In 12 inch saute pan or braiser melt butter over gentle heat. Add gorgonzola and melt, pressing it against the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, combine well. Add cream and combine well. If necessary, strain sauce to remove any lumps. Wipe pan. Return sauce to pan, add parmigiano, white pepper and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Taste for seasoning. Add corzetti to pan, toss to coat. Transfer to serving dish, top with parsley, and serve immediately.
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