It's pasta time with Dad again - this time with corzetti - beautiful round disks of dough made using a hand carved wooden implement created by Artisanal Pasta Tools in Sonoma California. The one I used has a lovely design of clusters of grapes, but there are many patterns to choose from. Mine arrived in the mail one day, totally unexpected, as a gift from my friend and fellow blogger - "corzetti queen" Adri Barr Crocetti. She writes a fabulous food blog, loaded with great recipes and thorough research on Italian food. Her beautiful photos are always so artfully composed and expertly shot.
She has written exhaustively about corzetti and you can find her posts about them by clicking here.
As soon as I showed my father this nifty tool, he was on board to make pasta with me. Regular readers of my blog know that my 92-year old dad loves to cook, especially pasta. We've made bigoli together (click here) , orecchiette (click here) and lots of other foods too.
I arrived at his house and he was ready to go - mixing the dough on the counter and armed with a recipe to dress the pasta.
We cut the disks with one side of the form.
Then flipped the wooden implement to insert the disk and press down hard to make sure we got a good imprint.
Lined up on a cookie sheet, they reminded me of Christmas tree ornaments. Hey, maybe that's an idea for the future - poke a hole in the top, let them dry and give them a coat of some clear preservative.
Here's a closer view. They are like little works of art.
Corzetti originated in Genoa, a city on the Mediterranean in the region of Liguria. So it seemed fitting that we served them with some seafood - scallops and swiss chard, with some saffron.
My dad found this recipe in an old issue of La Cucina Italiana. Unfortunately, for us Americans, the company stopped producing the U.S. edition. You can't even access the online version, so sadly we've all lost a great resource of recipes. If you've got your old issues lying about the house, hang onto them.
"Butta la pasta" is a commonly heard Italian expression, meaning literally "throw the pasta." As the sauce cooked, (and it took only a few minutes), it was time for us to throw the corzetti into the water.
We cooked them al dente, and added them to the sauce pan to swirl in the juices and meld the flavors.
And then it was time to eat.
It's a great recipe any time of the year, but for you Catholics, it's especially apropos for any one of these meatless Fridays during Lent.
Since I've introduced you to my dad over the years, but never to his better half, I thought I'd throw in a photo of his wife Rose - a sweet, lovely woman who lets him (and me) have the run of her kitchen whenever he wants. We all had a fun day together making corzetti and plenty of memories too.
Corzetti with Swiss Chard and Scallops
If you can't find dried corzetti in the store and want to make your own, here's the recipe we used. But you could use any shape pasta here - from rigatoni to spaghetti.
We used a simple pasta recipe of two cups flour and two extra large eggs, mixing the ingredients together, kneading the dough and letting it rest, before rolling out the dough and cutting the corzetti disks. If the dough is too dry, add a little water.
printable recipe here
From "La Cucina Italiana"
1 pound sea scallops
fine sea salt
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound Swiss chard, center ribs removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/8 t. crumbled saffron threads
1 T. unsalted butter
1 pound fresh corzetti or dried corzetti
freshly ground white pepper (optional)
Cut scallops into quarters; set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat; add shallots, reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add chard in batches, then add broth, 1/4 t. salt and saffron; cook, stirring until greens are just wilted.
Add scallops to skillet, tucking pieces among greens; gently simmer, turning scallops occasionally, until scallops are just cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Add butter and gently stir until melted, then remove skillet from heat and cover to keep warm.
Cook pasta in the boiling water until just tender - 6 to 7 minutes or until al dente. Drain. Combine the pasta with the scallops and chard in the pan. Sprinkle with pepper if desired.