Gli Scialatielli. A kind of pasta typical from the Amalfi coast which name comes from the union of two Neapolitan words: ‘Scialare’ (to have pleasure) and ‘Tiella’ (the fry pan). So basically a pleasure in a pan! Especially when combined with Vongole and Pumpkin cream.
In 1978 in Amalfi, the chef Andrea Cosentino made during a culinary competition this type of pasta that earned him the title of ‘Entremetier’ of the year.
The secret behind the success is definitely in the Scialatielli dough. Cosentino replaced the water with the milk; added grated cheese, pecorino, if aged even better; finely chopped basil leaves, for the scent and freshness (my nonna also used to add a tiny bit of lemon zest); and of course, the farina di semola (semolina flour), that gives this pasta the rough texture that makes any sauce attach to it and not run away.
Gli scialatielli are like short strings, about 10cm and 10mm wide. They are normally served with seafood sauce (such as Vongole, or Mussels, Prawns, Calamari, etc.) but they also perfectly match with meat or veggie sauces (sausage and mushroom for example).
Gli Scialatielli with Vongole & Pumpkin Cream
For the pasta dough:
– 400 gr of semolina flour
– 120 ml of milk
– 20 gr of pecorino cheese
– 4 basil leaves (finely chopped)
– 1 egg
For the sauce:
– 600gr of vongole
– 300gr of pumpkin
– 1 onion
– 2 garlic cloves
– 1 chilli
– salt & pepper
First of all the dough. Place the flour on a plain surface and make a bowl shaped hole in the centre. Add one egg and start to whisk gently and slowly incorporate the flour. Slowly start to add the milk and the chopped basil, the pecorino cheese, a tiny bit of salt and pepper and a touch of lemon zest.
Work the dough for 10-15min or until you get a smooth and homogeneous surface. Cover it with glad wrap and let it rest for 30min.
Now meanwhile you start to prepare the sauce, tell to your friend to start to prepare some antipasto and something to ‘Spuzzuliare’ (to nibble). Cooking always makes me hungry.
Grab one onion. Peel it and chop it roughly. Don’t cry.
In a sauce pan pour some e.v.o. oil. Add the onion and let it golden brown. Add the pumpkin.
Back to the pasta. But first have a bite of that slice of salami that your friend cut for you.
Now, cut the dough in four parts. Grab one of them and pass it through the pasta machine, roll for a couple of times at the largest thickness set. Fold the pasta sheet in half every time before the next rolled. This will help the gluten to stretch.
The pasta sheet shouldn’t be too thin, it has to be roughly 10mm.
Cut the pasta sheet in sections of 10cm (which will be the length of the scialatielli).
Dust some flour on them. Use the tagliatelle roll of your machine to cut the pasta.
Spread them on a try with some extra flour so they don’t stick together.
The pumpkin should be nice and soft by now, so using a stick blender reduce it to a cream nice and smooth ( you can add two little cubes of butter to make it smoother and creamier)
In a large pot bring the water for the pasta to a boil. In a pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil make a soffritto of garlic and chilli. Add the vongole. Lid on, let them open. Cook the pasta just a couple of minutes. Drain it and keep a cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the pan with vongole, few spoons of the pumpkin cream and a little bit of the water you kept. Toss gently. Some freshlychopped parsley on top. And that’s it. Enjoy.
WARNING!!! Don’t even try to mention the word cheese! no parmigiano on top of this dish. I know what you are saying, ‘But, there is cheese in the dough!”, YEAH! Exactly that’s enough!