For the past few weeks I have been experimenting with freshly made extruded pastas using eggs and different flour blends. We are famous for our standard semolina blend, but I wanted to try something new. I was aware that adding eggs to extruded pasta had been done before, but I was hoping to discover some new pasta shapes that would match the texture of the dough. While doing some research online for our Italian Catering Menu, I discovered a pasta shape called “gargati”.
What is Gargati?
Gargati pasta hails from the Veneto region in northern Italy. It is a relatively short-cut pasta with ridged, rough edges, and a small, hollow center. The ridged, rough edges allow sauce to cling to the pasta, adding flavor to each bite. Well-salted water will course through the hollow center of the pasta while cooking, adding a great depth of flavor. The hollow center also offers a place where a flavorful sauce can hide out waiting to please your palate. I really enjoy the fact that the sides of this pasta are thick and the length short. When cooked to a proper al dente, the results are simply delicious.
How is Gargati Pasta Made?
Traditionally, this shape of pasta is made using a bigolaro – a type of hand-cranked pasta machine. Since I do not own a traditional bigolaro, I would have to use my standard extruder. I use my standard extruder daily to produce all our other pastas, so I wasn’t intimidated by the challenge, and I soon got to work. Fortunately, I realized that I had the imported bronze die needed to make a very similar shape, so that wasn’t an issue. I just wanted to be sure I could create the perfect blend of egg, semolina and wheat flours. The correct blend of flour – mixed to perfection – will be integral to the final texture. The use of eggs will add depth and richness. I must admit I was very proud of myself when I was successful on the first try! There is nothing I hate more then wasting a batch of dough. The extruded results were well-formed and slightly curved, forming and holding those perfect textured ridges I was looking for. Now for a recipe!
Cooking with Gargati Pasta
With a little more research, I found most recipes for gargati used meat and seasonal vegetables. This was another plus for my Italian catering clients because I could create several recipes using this shape around seasonal ingredients. For instance, during the spring and summer months I could use garden fresh zucchini, asparagus, basil, fresh peas or green beans. I would pair these vegetables with lighter meats such as chicken and pork. I imagined those ingredients in a quick sauté then finished with whole butter, cracked black pepper and local EVOO. During the cooler months I would pair this pasta with braised meats, earthy flavored mushrooms and tomatoes. You would probably find me topping both with shaved Romano cheese. So, when you are in need of Italian catering for any occasion, weddings, a family gathering or a celebration at work be sure to ask for an Italian menu item prepared with gargati pasta! Contact one of our Event Specialists to place your order today!