This recipe is awesome because it uses up any party leftovers. There are always leftover bits of cured meats from the charcuterie board that I hate throwing away. I'll put all the leftovers in a freezer in an airtight container, and then make this sauce later as the ultimate comfort food pasta dish.
Technique tip: There's no need to add any extra salt to the sauce as the cured meats have more than enough salt in them. Also, the salumi sauce will hold in a refrigerator for 3 days or up to 1 month in the freezer.
Swap option: If you just want to make a nice hearty sauce and do not have mixed salumi scraps to use, you can simply buy pepperoni, prosciutto and/or salami at the grocery store and start from scratch. Also, 1 pound of dried spaghetti also works well if you do not have time to make fresh pasta or buy fresh pasta sheets.
Special equipment: Chitarra pasta tool with rolling pin
Fresh chitarra pasta (makes 4 entrée portions)
- 3 cups Italian 00 pasta flour
- 5 whole eggs
- 1/2 cup semolina, for dusting
- 4 slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
- 2½ cups mixed salumi pieces (such as soppressata, fennel salami, etc.), about 10 ounces
- 3 slices bacon or pancetta, cut into a large dice (about 1 ounce)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound ground beef chuck
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup finely diced carrot
- 2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon dry oregano (preferably Calabrian or Mexican oregano, dried on stem and flaked)
- Fresh chitarra pasta (from this recipe) or 1 pound pasta sheets, made into chitarra pasta
- 8 quarts water
- 1/4 cup kosher salt for pasta water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup ricotta or one 4-ounce ball burrata cheese, for garnish (optional)
For the fresh chitarra pasta:
1. Place all ingredients into a stand mixer bowl with the dough hook attachment. Run mixer on a low speed for approximately 4 minutes, or until a homogenous pasta dough has formed.
2. Move to a clean work surface and knead the dough with no additional flour for about 4-5 minutes, until dough is completely smooth. Tightly wrap with plastic and move to the refrigerator to rest, at least 20 minutes.
3. To roll out the dough, remove it from the plastic wrap onto a clean work surface and cut into 2 equal pieces. Move one piece to the side and cover with a clean towel.
4. Flatten the other piece of dough into a rectangle using your hand. Using a pasta roller (either the pasta attachment on a stand mixer or a manual hand-crank pasta roller), run the dough through the machine at its widest setting.
5. Fold the flattened dough into thirds, creating another rectangle. Feed the dough through the same wide setting once again, with the open edge (not the fold side) through the roller first. Repeat this step two more times.
6. Decrease the width setting by one notch and roll the pasta through again. Repeat, each time decreasing the setting by one notch until reaching the third-to-last setting (on most rollers), or the setting that creates a sheet that is 1/8th of an inch in thickness. Dust work surface with semolina flour and set aside, covering with a dry towel until ready to cut. Repeat steps 4-6 with remaining dough (if using store-bought pasta sheets, start here to form the chitarra spaghetti. Cut the pasta into sheets 12 inches long. Transfer each sheet to a flour-dusted, parchment paper-lined sheet tray).
7. To cut into chitarra, lay one pasta sheet on top of the chitarra strings. Sprinkle a little semolina on top of the pasta sheet. Use a small rolling pin to push the sheet through the strings, cutting the pasta into ribbons. Toss with flour and spread onto a floured parchment sheet; then repeat with all pasta until finished.
8. Let the pasta dry for 30 minutes before cooking.
For the salumi sauce:
1. Place the prosciutto and mixed salumi into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to finely chop the meat. Set aside.
2. Heat a 5-quart heavy sauce pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 30 seconds, then add olive oil and diced bacon/pancetta. Cook, stirring frequently with wooden spoon, until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the mixed salumi and adjust the heat so the meat sizzles gently. Brown thoroughly on all sides to encourage the formation of delicious brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
3. After another 2 minutes, add ground beef, using the spoon to break up the meat and push to the bottom of the pan to brown. Once ground beef is browned, turn off the heat.
4. Remove all of the meat to a plate and set aside, keeping rendered fat in the saucepot.
5. Turn heat back on to medium high, add sliced onions and stir for 2 minutes until golden and caramelized. Reduce heat to medium low and continue to stir occasionally as the onions turn golden, about 4 minutes. Add carrots and continue to cook until soft, another 3 minutes. Add fennel seed, chili flakes and tomato paste, cook while stirring for another 3 minutes to caramelize the tomato paste.
6. Add red wine to deglaze the pan, using a spoon to scrape any bits off the bottom. Then add hand crushed canned tomatoes, the cooked meat mixture and chicken stock; stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let cook, uncovered to reduce consistency, for 45-50 minutes. Turn off the heat until you're ready to serve, or chill fully, and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.
7. When ready to eat, bring 8 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large stock pot with a pasta basket insert. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 4 minutes.
8. Remove pasta from the water and add pasta to the pot with sauce. Cook over low heat to bring pasta and sauce together while stirring gently with tongs. Add butter and mix in. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.
If serving individual portions, add some cheese on top of the pasta to make it even more special. This also adds a touch of creaminess. You can even add 4 tablespoons of fresh ricotta or top with fresh burrata. Enjoy!