There were so many highlights on our recent trip to Italy. One of the most memorable was our time at Antica Corte Pallavicina. Who knew that the one spare night between locations in the middle of the trip would be so cool?! From our private tour of the absolutely unreal culatello (like prosciutto, only way better) cellar to our Michelin-star dinner, this agriturismo blew our minds. And much to our delight, a couple weeks after we got home, we had the chance to go back by watching one of our faves, Anthony Bourdain, as he visited the prized cellar with his show, No Reservations. I think giddy is a good word to describe our excitement.
We cannot recommend this place highly enough. If you find yourself anywhere remotely near it, you absolutely must go. And if you go, please, please, take a cooking class. And then make those recipes as soon as you get home. Here’s the first, a classic handmade pasta tossed with vegetables. So simple, so, so good. The below is from my own notes, scribbled as I translated the Italian/English mix while we cooked in the kitchen. As we continue to make this, I’ll refine my notes. Finally, big ups to our chefs and teachers, Francesco and Nicholas.
Pasta Antica, from Antica Corte Pallavicina
- 250 g flour (0/0)
- 125 g grated breadcrumbs
- Boiling water
- Small eggplant
- Small zucchini
- Roma tomato
- Zucchini flower
- Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese
- Olive oil
Mix flour and breadcrumbs with hands. Create a mound on your work surface with a dip in the middle.
Add boiling water and salt to the center of your mound. Mix with a fork.
Add more water as needed. Mix with hands until smoothly combined. Roll into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Set aside. (You can freeze excess dough for up to a month.)
Julienne carrot, eggplant, and zucchini. (You can just use the skin of the eggplant and zucchini, not the middle white parts.)
Roll the pasta dough into long, thin strands. Use more flour as needed on surface and pasta. As you roll the strands, stretch your fingers outward. This helps keep the strands even. (You can also freeze excess strands of pasta dough. Form into a nest, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to a month.)
Boil water for the pasta.
Once boiling, blanch tomato by cooking for 10 seconds and then moving to an ice bath. Peel, remove the seeds, and julienne.
Heat a pan on high heat. Add olive oil. Add carrots and a little salt. (Adding salt as you add each vegetable pulls out the water and prevents the veg from burning.) Toss gently, with tweezers if you have them, or delicately with tongs or a spatula. Then add zucchini with a little more salt. Cook for a few minutes. Then add eggplant and salt, cook.
Meanwhile, salt the water, then cook the pasta for 5-10 minutes, depending on how thick your strands are.
Add the pasta to the vegetables. Add some pasta water to the mixture. Bring to a boil and cook for several minutes.
Add tomato, basil, and zucchini flower to pasta. Add grated Parmagiano-Reggiano. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.