Rigatoni "Tanti Affetti"
6 Rigatoni per serving (prepare
200g cooked Ham
100g uncooked Foie gras (if
unavailable use cooked)
The Yolks of 3 hard-boiled eggs
5 large ripe Tomatoes
1 small Onion finely chopped
clove Garlic crushed
Thyme, Laurel leaf
Preparation of the Rigatoni
Bring to the boil 3 litres of
salted water with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Cook the rigatoni for 8 to 10 minutes
- remove just before they are 'al dente'. (Prepare a few extra for testing
during preparation and in case some burst when stuffing). Strain under
warm water, then under cold to stop the cooking process. Sponge off with
kitchen paper and set aside, but do not let dry out.
Preparation of the Stuffing
Finely dice the mushrooms,
truffles, ham and foie gras. Powder the egg yolks by forcing them through
a sieve. Sauté the mushrooms in the butter, then add the foie gras,
truffles and ham. Allow to cook gently for about 5 minutes. (If you are
using cooked foie gras, finely dice and add last to the other
ingredients). Withdraw from heat, check the seasoning and bind with the
egg yolks to obtain a fine stuffing.
Preparation of the Sauce and Garnish
Plunge each tomato into boiling
water for a few seconds and peel. Cut in four and remove the seeds and any
hard pieces. Use three tomatoes to prepare a light sauce, by allowing them
to sweat for a few minutes with the chopped onion, crushed garlic, thyme,
laurel, pepper and salt in a little butter. Sieve and keep warm. Cut the
remaining tomatoes into thin strips and soften them a few minutes in warm
Using a bag and nozzle, fill the
rigatoni with the stuffing, then place them in a steamer for about 5
minutes to complete the cooking of the pasta. Garnish the base of an
ovenware dish (or small individual dishes) with the warm tomato strips and
cover with the rigatoni. Pour over the tomato sauce and sprinkle with
Parmesan. Place under the grill for a few moments and serve immediately.
This was one of Rossini's
favourite dishes. The delicate texture of the pasta is a perfect back-drop
for this extraordinary stuffing, enhancing the flavour of each main
ingredient, yet bringing them all together in a subtle harmony you might
expect from a great composer.
Friends of his reported that he
was always in the best of moods when he began preparing the stuffing. (He
in fact used large calibre Neapolitan macaroni for this dish, although we
found rigatoni work equally well and are easier to handle for large
numbers). When the macaroni were ready, he would stuff them using a large
silver syringe for which he was famous - he was frequently portrayed
brandishing it by cartoonists of the day! The pasta was then returned to
the steamer "with all the delicate care one would take to place a
new-born babe in its cradle".
During the final touch to
preparation - under the grill - the Maestro could be overheard gleefully
reciting verses from Dante's Inferno.....in eager anticipation!
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