Whether served as a first course or the main event, most pasta dishes require some last-minute attention. Not so with these two puff pastry-crusted pasta pies we sampled in Italy.
The cooked and sauced pasta can stand as long as an hour; it reheats as its pastry jacket browns. Let the hot pasta pie stand at least 30 minutes so it will cut neatly, then offer wedges as an elegant first course or the main dish for lunch.
Meat-filled tortellini in a cream and Parmesan cheese sauce fills the first pie. The second, a creation of the Hotel Europa Regina in Venice, combines slender tubes of pasta in a veal and green pea sauce.
Tortellini Pasta Pie
1 package (17 1/4 oz.) frozen puff pastry sheets
2 packages (12 oz. each) frozen meat-filled tortellini Water
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Thaw pastry as package directs.
Meanwhile, cook tortellini, uncovered, in 3 1/2 to 4 quarts boiling water until just tender to bite, about 20 minutes--or as package directs. Drain well. In a bowl, combine tortellini, cream, and cheese. Let stand until cool or up to 1 hour; stir occasionally.
Roll out both sheets of puff pastry, each into a 14-inch square. If done ahead, keep pastry flat, covered, and cold up to 2 hours. Fit one square of pastry into a 9-inch pan (about 3 in. deep) with removable bottom, letting excess pastry drape over rim.
Stir parsley into the tortellini mixture, then pour or scoop into pastry-lined pan. Top with second square of pastry. With a sharp knife, cut excess pastry off about 1/4 inch from pan rim; set scraps aside. Pinch edges of pstry sheets together; fold down between pan and pie, and crimp to seal securely.
Using floured cooky cutters or a sharp knife, cut decorative shapes such as leaves, geometric shapes, or animals from the scraps of pastry. Moisten one side of each piece with water and lay wet side onto pie; decorative pieces can overlap. With a sharp knife, cut 4 to 6 slashes in the top of the crust.
Bake pie on the lowest rack of a 425| oven until crust is a rich golden brown (cream may bubble up through slashes), about 45 minutes. Let pie cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove pan sides and let stand at least 15 minutes or as long as 30 minutes for filling to firm slightly before cutting pie. Serves 8 to 10 as a first course or 6 to 8 as a luncheon entree.
Venetian Pasta and Veal Pie
1/2 cup each chopped onion and carrot
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 pound ground veal
1/4 pound mushrooms, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
1/4 cup each dry white wine and regular-strength chicken broth
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 ounces dried slender tube-shaped pasta (such as bucatini or perciatelle)
Bechamel sauce (recipe follows)
1 cup frozen petite peas
1 package (17 1/4 oz.) frozen puff pastry sheets
In a 10-to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, cook onion and carrot in butter until onion is very soft, about 10 minutes; stir often. Crumble in veal and cook, stirring, until meat loses its pink color. Stir in mushrooms, thyme, and wine; simmer, uncovered, until wine evaporates, about 15 minutes; stir often. Add broth and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Cool.
Cook pasta, uncovered, in 3 to 4 quarts boiling water until tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Drain well. In a bowl, combine meat mixture, pasta, bechamel sauce, and peas. If made ahead, let stand up to 4 hour.
Thaw puff pastry as package directs. Roll out both sheets of pastry, each into a 14-inch square. If done ahead, keep flat, covered, and cold up to 2 hours.
Fit one pastry square into a 9-inch pan (about 3 in. deep) with removable bottom. Pour pasta mixture into pastry; top with the remaining pasta square. With a sharp knife, cut excess pastry off about 1/4 inch from pan rim; save scraps. Pinch edges of pastry sheets together; fold down between pie and pan, and crimp to seal.
Using floured cooky cutters or a sharp knife, cut decorative shapes from scraps. Moisten one side of each cut shape with water and lay wet side onto pie; press pastry gently to secure to pie top. Make 4 to 6 slashes in the crust.
Bake pie on the lowest rack of a 425| oven until crust is a rich golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let pie cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then remove pan sides and let stand at least 15 minutes or as long as 30 minutes for filling to firm slightly. Cut pie into wedges. Serves 8 to 10 as a first course or 6 to 8 as a luncheon entree.
Bechamel sauce. In a 1-to 1 1/2-quart pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and cook, stirring, until bubbly. Blend in 3/4 cup each regular-strength chicken broth and whipping cream. Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens. Let cool; if made ahead, cover and chill as long as 2 days.
Photo: Wedge of pasta pie reveals meat-filled tortellini blended with cream and cheese inside a tender puff pastry crust. Serve as a first course or luncheon entree
Photo: Scoop cool seasoned tortellini into pan lined with thinly rolled puff pastry; top with more pastry
Photo: Crimp pastry rim to seal pie. Cut decorative shapes from pastry scraps and lay on top of crust
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Date:||Dec 1, 1984|
|Previous Article:||Pickling is one way to tame garlic or shallots.|
|Next Article:||Trout? No, they're baby silver salmon.|