heartache tagliatelle custard

by Stevie on March 14, 2011

This recipe is part of a cooperative “cook-off” with my darling blogger friend, Heavenly, from donuts to delirium, and Christina, from Buenos Aires to Paris. I’ve been wildly excited about cooking with these two and remain thrilled to have been included. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out their cool blogs soon and often.

heartache tagliatelle custard

heartache tagliatelle custard

I call this custard “heartache” for several reasons. First, it is loaded with cream, butter and eggs, so cardiologists, beware. Next, I had trouble making it, which I’ll elaborate on more below. That caused me days on end of heartache and worry. But the dish turned out so flavorful and downright good, that everyone that’s tasted it has had heartache once they cleaned their plates. “You’re kidding! There’s really no more?” Lastly, today I’m bittersweet. This is the very day that my kitchen is to be demolished in preparation for renovation. That’s wonderful news in the long term but I’ll miss the wretched thing horribly while we suffer the remodel. And I won’t be enjoying more heartache tagliatelle custard anytime soon.

The recipe is a classic: fresh egg tagliatelle. It comes from one of Gino D’Acampo’s cookbooks. HH sent me the directions and urged me to “feel free to add any personal touches/sauces,” with which instruction, obviously, I’ve run wild.

The dish is straightforward and only uses a few ingredients. But it is labor intensive. Gino’s a cute guy, and I’ve no doubt that’s part of his appeal. Nevertheless, the pics accompanying the recipe of him in a T-shirt, flashing his biceps, smiling his stunning smile, as he pulls perfect, very long tagliatelle out of his hand-cranked pasta maker, isn’t just for show. I’ve a hand-cranked pasta machine, too, and I’ll tell you, making this is a real workout! I stripped some outer layers off myself. And I started sweating… heavily. (I couldn’t tell if G was, but suspect not. Some guys have all the luck.)

Gino offers two alternatives besides the original: a red tagliatelle made with the addition of tomato purée, and a green, made with fresh spinach. Initially, I wanted to try something American Southwestern, so made the “red” version with ancho chile purée instead of tomato. It tasted fine but looked a mess—sort of like teenage-me, covered in acne, irritated, with horrible bed-head. It didn’t photograph that well either, as you might imagine.

So back to the drawing board.

The texture of my disaster tagliatelle was rather fluffy, kind of like bread or rice pudding. And that, as they say, was that. Eureka! I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and try a pasta dessert.

I’m not especially creative with these things so feel back on a recipe of Heguiberto’s for bread pudding as my guide. I had to make some small adjustments to accommodate the hot tagliatelle. Otherwise, my dish is essentially the same as Gino’s for the “regular” egg noodles and the same as Hegui’s bread pudding recipe. In the first I traded canola oil for olive, thinking that would work better in dessert. In the second, I melted the butter and tossed it with the noodles and dried fruit instead of spreading it.

I made this twice. The first time, I didn’t cook the fresh pasta thinking that the custard would do that for me, thus eliminating a step. Alas, that proved to be a mistake. The custard was too dense.

heartache tagliatelle custard

My manual pasta machine.  See how I've gotten a new clamp to hold it in place.  What an upgrade!

My manual pasta machine. See how I've gotten a new clamp to hold it in place? What an upgrade!

300g “00” flour plus more to flour work surface
3 eggs
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp canola oil

3 cups half and half
4 tbsp butter, melted, plus more to grease baking dish
¾ cup raisins and currants
2 eggs and 1 additional egg white
3 cups half and half
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean pod
coarse sugar


To prepare tagliatelle:

Prepare Gino D’Acampo’s homemade egg pasta dough. I’ll summarize the directions. Mix flour, salt, and oil in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together three eggs. (Actually Gino recommends the traditional make-a-well-in-a-mound-of-flour-on-your-board method. I simply ignored that since I always make such a huge mess that way.) With a wooden spoon, fold the flour in stages into the egg. Once the dough is wet and somewhat together, pour out onto a floured surface.

Kneed the dough for eight (8) minutes. This is critical. And tiring and is the step at which I broke a sweat.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Once it is rested, press dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness that will fit your pasta machine’s widest setting. Crank the dough through. Dust with a bit more flour to prevent sticking. Adjust the machine setting to the next smaller size and process again. Continue until you’ve run it through all the settings to the most narrow (my machine has nine settings). The dough will grow enormously long and gets stickier as it grows. You’ll have to fold it so be sure to add a bit more four as needed to minimize sticking.

at this point, the pasta is about half-way flattened

at this point, the pasta is about half-way flattened

cutting pasta into tagliatelle

cutting pasta into tagliatelle

finished tagliatelle before cooking

finished tagliatelle before cooking

Change to the cutting rollers on your machine. The tagliatelle width is about a half centimeter. Gino sweetly writes that you can hand-cut the pasta if you’re machine doesn’t have the correct size, but I think that is perfectly insane. Use the machine and make due on the size.

Dust cut pasta with a bit of flour to prevent sticking.

At this point, you can cook and eat this in any of the traditional savory ways that you can imagine. March bravely forward for the custard.

To prepare custard:

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Grease a baking dish with butter.

Cut vanilla pod in half and scrape out seeds with a paring knife. Place pod and seeds with one cup of half and half in a small saucepan. Simmer for a few minutes to infuse vanilla flavor into liquid. Remove from heat and add remaining two cups of half and half to cool. Discard vanilla pod and set aside.

heartache tagliatelle custard with cream and dark chocolate Häagen-Dazs

heartache tagliatelle custard with cream and dark chocolate Häagen-Dazs

Cook pasta in boiling water for two minutes. Drain and toss with melted butter and dried fruit. Place into baking dish.

Beat remaining 2 eggs and egg white with sugar for a few minutes. Add vanilla-infused half and half. Beat for a minute more. Pour over pasta in baking dish. Sprinkle top with coarse sugar.

Bake 35 to 50 minutes until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Once firm, broil for a minute or so to brown top. Remove from heat and let cool.

Serve warm, with more half and half or some heavy cream, and/or with dark chocolate ice cream, like we did.


This post comes from our first-time guest blogger, Ernestina C. This mole was simply incredible! Thanks for the great post and we hope you write again soon!

mole rojo classico with shrimp

Ernestina made this mole sauce from scratch over a weekend a few weeks back. She knows that we’re pescetarian at WC headquarters so set aside a jar of the concentrated mole paste for us to try at home before she added chicken broth. From our perspective, this meal was simple and simply divine. All I did to prepare the sauce was to simmer it uncovered in two cups of vegetable stock to reduce it to a thick mole. At the end I adjusted the salt. Ernestina likes hers sweeter so adds canned pineapple before serving. We had this with shrimp sautéed in garlic, olive oil, some dried oregano and a pinch of salt. Wow!

So take it away, E!

I tried scanning the recipe but that turned out even more complicated than making the mole itself; so here it goes.

The recipe is from Rick Bayless’ new book, Fiesta at Rick’s: Fabulous Food for Great Times with Friends, which is great even though some of the recipes are a little over the top–such as instructions on how to dig a pit in the backyard and roast a whole pig–reminds me of my Texas days at my grandparent’s house.

Ernestina's concentrated mole rojo clasico

mole rojo clasico

makes about 3/4 gallon of mole – about 24 servings

10oz (5 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 1/2 cups (6 1/2 oz) sesame seeds
1 cup rich tasting pork lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if necessary (I used grapeseed oil and about 1/2 cup)
12 medium (6 oz) dried mulato chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into large flat pieces
6 medium (3 oz) dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into large flat pieces
10 medium (3 oz) dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into large flat pieces
8 garlic cloves peeled
1 cup (4oz) unskinned almonds
1 cup (4oz) raisins (I used currants)
1 tsp cinnamon, preferably freshly ground
½ tsp anise, preferably freshly ground (I didn’t have any so I used star anise)
¼ tsp cloves, freshly ground
2 slices firm white bread, darkly toasted, broken into several pieces
2 oz (2/3 of a 3.3 oz tablet) Mexican chocolate roughly chopped
3 quarts chicken broth (or substitute vegetable broth)
1/3 to ½ cup sugar

Step 1 – Preliminaries – On rimmed baking sheet, roast tomatillos 4 inches below a very hot broiler until they splotch black and get thoroughly soft (about 5 minutes per side).
Scrape into a large bowl. In a dry skillet, toast sesame seeds, stirring constantly until golden – about 5 minutes. Scrape half into tomatillos, reserve the rest.

Step 2 – Brown other mole ingredients. Turn on exhaust fan and in large dutch oven or stock pan, heat lard or oil over medium. When quite hot, fry the chiles, 3 – 4 pieces at a time, flipping constantly with tongs until aromatic and interior side has lightened in color, 20 to 30 seconds (don’t toast so darkly that they begin to smoke or mole will be bitter). As they are done, remove to a large bowl, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot. Cover the toasted chiles with hot tap water and rehydrate for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even soaking.

Remove stray seeds from oil and with pot over medium heat fry the garlic and almonds, stirring regularly until browned (garlic should be soft) about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon remove to the tomatillo bowl, draining as much fat as possible back into pot.
Add raisins to hot oil, stir about 20 seconds until browned slightly, scoop out and drain fat back into pot. Add to tomatillos (I had to make a second batch because I put them on a paper towel to de-fat and we ended up eating most of them before they went into the sauce, they were so good!)

To tomatillo mixture, add the cinnamon, black pepper, anise, cloves, bread and chocolate. Add 2 cups water and stir to combine.

Step 3. Blend, strain and cook. – Into a large measuring cup, tip off the chiles’ soaking liquid. Taste the liquid and if its not bitter, discard all but 6 cups — add water if you don’t have enough. If bitter, pour off and use 6 cups of plain water (this is what I usually do). Scoop half of the chiles into the blender jar. Add half of soaking liquid or water and blend to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard the bits of skin and seeds that don’t pass though the strainer. Repeat with the remaining chiles. (I used my new oxo food mill; such a joy ).

Return the empty pot to medium heat, (bottom should have a nice coat of oil, If not add some more). When quite hot, pour in the chile puree – it should sizzle sharply and if the pan is sufficiently hot the mixture should never stop boiling. Stir almost constantly until puree has darkened and reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about 30 minutes -cover pot with spatter screen to catch any spattering chile. (This is a crucial but delicate step; more than once I have burned my puree and had to toss the entire thing out. I used my all clad nonstick stock pan and stirred constantly so I couldn’t use the spatter screen. I am still washing chile off my kitchen ceiling and cabinets and lets not even talk about the burns).

In two batches, blend the tomatillo mixture as smoothly as possible – you may need an extra ½ cup water to keep everything moving through the blades, then strain into a large bowl. When the chile paste has reduced, add the tomatillo mixture to the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes until considerably darker and thicker, 15 to 20 minutes.

At this point I stopped and let the paste mellow out overnight. The recipe doesn’t call for this but this is what my grandmother used to do so that the paste could rest. I separated it into smaller batches and put some into jars, one of which I gave to Stevie and one which I froze for future use. I then made a very slow simmer chicken stock (another 2 hours of cooking) and when it cooled I refrigerated that overnight so that I could de-fat it in the morning.

Step 4. Add the broth to the pot and briskly simmer the mixture over medium to medium-low heat for about 2 hours for all the flavors to come together and mellow. If the mole has thickened beyond the consistency of a cream soup, stir in a little water. Taste and season with salt (usually about 4 tsps) and the sugar. (Since at this point I was working with a much lesser quantity of puree, I added enough broth so that it looked diluted and then simmered it down for about an hour or so – also, I like my mole on the sweeter side so I added half a can of drained crushed pineapple instead of sugar).

Step 5. Rick Bayless served his mole over a glazed chicken; I served mine over a roasted butterflied leg of lamb, which had marinated for a few hours in garlic and red wine with olive oil. The final step is to sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds over the finished dish and enjoy.

Paste keeps several months in the freezer. I divide it into 2-3 cup portions and cook with broth when I need it. We use it as enchilada sauce, on shrimp, chicken or turkey.

mole rojo classico with shrimp

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