Pasta Fiori with Tomato Concase, Rosemary and Thyme

Sunday July 25 2021
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Review. Seared tuna steaks on a spiced sweet potato mash with ginger and spring onions. Photo/A. Kadumukasa Kironde II.

By A. Kadumukasa Kironde II

Fiori is a decorative shape of extruded pasta while the Italian term fiori means flowers. This pasta is similar to rotelle.  If you are the adventurous type, then you will want to go the whole hog and make your own pasta from scratch.  

However, feel free to purchase readymade pasta from the supermarket in which case you would omit the first stage of making the pasta. 

Serves 4

For the pasta
A pinch of saffron threads
450g (3 ¼ cups) plain all- purpose flour
80g (½ cup) semolina
2 eggs 
A pinch of fine sea salt
For the tomato concase:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
90g (½ cup) shallots, diced 
25g (2 tablespoons) garlic, chopped
6 tablespoons white wine
5 sprigs of rosemary 
5 sprigs of thyme
1.4 kg (3 Ib) Roma tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and diced
Sugar to taste (optional) 
Cayenne pepper to taste 
15g (¼ cup) parsley, finely chopped 
15g (1 tablespoon) butter
15g (1 tablespoon) Parmesan cheese, preferably freshly grated 
Salt and pepper to taste 
1 tablespoon Royco 
For the beurre fondue:
120ml (½ cup) chicken stock
115g (1 stick) butter, diced
Salt and pepper 
For the sauce:
½ tablespoon finely diced shallot 
2 garlic cloves, sliced
A pinch of rosemary 
A pinch of thyme 
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
150ml (¾ cup) chicken stock 
2 tablespoons lemon juice
A pinch of salt 
A pinch of sugar (optional) 
A pinch of cayenne pepper 
30g (2 tablespoons) butter 
1 tablespoon Royco 
For the garnish: 
6 sprigs of lemon thyme
10 basil leaves
10 opal basil leaves
Parmesan shavings (optional) 

1.To make the pasta, infuse the saffron in 4 tablespoons of warm water and then sift the flour into the bowl of a food mixer and add the semolina, eggs, salt and the saffron infusion. Mix with a dough hook until the dough comes away from the side of the bowl and forms a ball. Remove and knead until firm. Wrap the dough in cling film (plastic wrap) and chill for at least a couple of hours. This will make more pasta dough than needed which shouldn’t be a problem since the extra can be frozen for later use. 
2.    Roll out the dough on a pasta machine to number 6 and then cut it into 10cm (4-inch) rounds. You will need 2 per person, with a hole cut in the middle of half of them. 
3.    To make the tomato concase, heat the oil in a saucepan and add the shallots and garlic and sweat until tender. Add the white wine and simmer until reduced. Tie the rosemary and thyme in a bouquet garni and add to the pan with the tomatoes. Simmer until the mixture is thick and has reduced by at least three quarters. Season with salt and pepper, sugar and the cayenne and the Royco. This will again make more than needed but the rest can be frozen for later use. Stir in the parsley, butter and Parmesan cheese just before serving. 
4.For the beurre fondue, put the chicken stock in a sauté pan and simmer until reduced by half. Whisk the butter piece by piece into the chicken stock to emulsify. Season to taste. 
5.For the sauce, sweat the shallot, garlic, rosemary and thyme in the oil and then add the chicken stock with the Royco and simmer until reduced by a third. Taste and correct seasoning and add lemon juice, salt, sugar and cayenne and then whisk in the butter. 
6.Cook the pasta in loads of boiling water, with a bit of salt, until tender and then drain well. Mix the pasta with the beurre fondue until coated. When you are ready to serve, place a sheet of pasta (without hole) in 4 serving bowls. Spoon the tomato fondue into a mound in the center of the pasta and cover with the second sheet (with hole). Pour the sauce around the pasta and garnish with the lemon thyme, basil and opal basil, plus the Parmesan shavings if you so desire.  

Titbit…
To make the tomato concase, heat the oil in a saucepan and add the shallots and garlic and sweat until tender. Add the white wine and simmer until reduced. Tie the rosemary and thyme in a bouquet garni and add to the pan with the tomatoes.

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Simmer until the mixture is thick and has reduced by at least three quarters. Season with salt and pepper, sugar and the cayenne and the Royco. This will again make more than needed but the rest can be frozen for later use. Stir in the parsley, butter and Parmesan cheese just before serving.

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