Pasta: A Five Part Series. Part 4; Shapes

Happy Halloweekend Foodies!

I hope you all love Halloween as much as I do. How could you not? For one, you can shamelessly binge all three Halloweentown movies and all eight Harry Potter movies. Of course, you can shamelessly watch HP all year long, but on Halloween, you can eat an entire bag of Reece’s Cups and not even feel a little bad. Calories don’t count when they’re fun-sized! Right?

I love Halloween for more than just the movies though, I love it because it means Fall (sometimes winter) is officially here. It kicks off the holiday season and it means it’s finally time to put away the shorts and t-shirts and break out the sweaters. Time to take a break from that beach bod diet am I right? It’s finally soup weather and time for heavier comfort foods. And since you saved some time by not needing to work so hard at the gym and you have that sweater to cover it all up, why not spend a little time making pasta?

Now that you know how to make your basic doughcolored pasta dough, and printed pasta dough, it’s probably a good time to see what fun shapes you can make. There are tons. Honestly an endless number of shapes you can make out of pasta. You could go for one of the many traditional shapes, spaghetti, lasagna, tortellini, etc. Or you could make your own shapes. I’ll share with you, some of my favorites.

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Bowties

Bow ties are my personal favorite pasta. I could, and do, eat them with any sauce. They’re also super simple to make. All you do is take your thinly sheeted pasta and cut equal sized squares 1×1 in. is perfect. If you don’t have a cutting tool, you can always use a square cookie cutter.

Once you have your square, put a small drop of water in the middle and using your index finger and thumb, take each side and crinkle it in. That’s it!

Ninja Stars

Ninja stars! These are my absolute favorite to make! I’m honestly not sure if they have an actual name, but they look like ninja stars to me so that’s what I call them. These are super unique and fun, especially if you have kids. When I was a kid, my younger brother and I absolutely loved ninjas. So for me, ninja star chicken noodle soup would have been super cool.

To make ninja stars, you’re going to cut squares out of your sheeted pasta. Place a drop of water in the center of your square and cut four diagonal lines starting from each corner and ending about 3/4 of the way to the center of your square.

This is where it gets surprisingly tricky. Look at your square and notice that there are two sides to each of the cuts you just made. Starting from the top fold the right side of your cut into the middle. This is the first point of your star, notice it has one flat side and one folded side.

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When you begin to fold your next points, keep in mind that you always want the flat side of your first point to touch the folded side of your next. Otherwise, you get these weird bunny ear things. Repeat the first step on all of the following corners.

 

Flowers

This is another really fun shape to make especially with brightly colored pasta. I suggest serving them in a broth or soup.

Take a sheet of pasta and cut off any rough or rounded edges and flour one side. Make sure the sheet is four inches tall all the way across. Cut the sheet into 1″ wide by 4″ tall strips (You can use shorter strips to make smaller flowers or wider strips to make more voluminous flours) and gently, just enough to leave a crease but not to make the pasta stick together, fold each of them in half, floured side in.

Using scissors or fluted pasta cutter, cut each end of the folded strip at a diagonal, making sure each point is in the same direction. Using three of the folded strips place a small drop of water in the center of each side of ONE of the strips. This will be your middle strip. Take the other two strips and attach them to the center of the middle strip. Bend each side strip in to form a flower shape and open your folds slightly, leaving the crease visible.

Agnolotti

Agnolotti are adorable, little, stuffed pillows of pasta. They’re fairly small which makes them perfect for a bold filling, You can get the perfect amount in each bite without it becoming overwhelming. For this particular batch, I used a gruyere and pear filling which I’ll post in part 5. You could also use a chestnut and sherry puree, delicious for the winter. A sweet corn and camembert in the summer, a gorgonzola and butternut squash in the fall would be delicious.

To make these yummy little pillows, you need a nice, wide sheet of pasta. 6 inches is a good size. Put a small strip of flour on the top and bottom edges of the sheet. Using a piping bag, pipe a nice strip of filling on each of the floured edges. Then fold the edges towards the middle so the filling is completely enclosed.

Using your fingers or a dowel, you’re going to press creases into the pasta to turn the sheet into smaller pieces.

Next, cut a line down the center of the sheet leaving a small flap on the end. Then cut through each of the creases you just made. To finish fold the flap over, like an envelope. Make sure all edges are sealed. Store in the freezer for 30 minutes to 3 days.

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Tortellini

Tortelinni is similar to agnolotti in size but different in shape. I suggest serving it the same as agnolotti with boldly flavored filling and a light sauce such as browned butter and herbs or broth.

To make these, use a medium circle cutter to get even sized pieces of pasta. Place a dollop of your filling in the center of the circle. Place a couple drops of water around the edges and fold the circle in half.

Place a small drop of water on one of the corners of your half moon and fold them together.

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Raviolo

Raviolo is a large ravioli. You can use circles or squares to make these but I prefer circles. Because of the size, I suggest using a more simple filling such as burrata or ricotta filling and a more bold sauce. Another option that I’ll talk about in part 5, is a ricotta and egg yolk filling with a browned butter sauce.

To make the raviolo, cut out large, even squares or circles. I used circles. Separate your pieces into two groups, top, and bottom. Place a dollop of filling in the middle of the bottom circle.

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Place a couple drops of water around the edges of the circle and place the top piece and firmly seal the edges. Use your cookie cutter to remove any uneven edges that may have formed while sealing.

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