Fresh Tagliatelle with Sprouting Broccoli and Oozy Cheese Sauce

The hero of this dish (apart from the eggs, of course!) is fontina, a delicious Italian mountain cheese used for melting, available in good[ cheese shops and delis. But any combination of Parmesan, pecorino, taleggio or Gruyere cheeses will also work well.]

Total Time:
40 min
Prep:
30 min
Cook:
10 min

Yield:
4 servings
Level:
Advanced
Ingredients
  • For the pasta:
  • 4 large free-range or organic eggs
  • 2 cups pasta flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Sea salt
  • For the cheese sauce:
  • 1 cup creme fraiche
  • 5 ounces sliced fontina or other nice melting cheese
  • 5 ounces freshly grated Parmesan
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound purple sprouting broccoli
  • 2 large free-range or organic egg yolks
  • 1 small bunch fresh marjoram, oregano or thyme tips, leaves picked
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
Directions

You can buy ready-made dried or fresh tagliatelle, but this is a really quick way to make your own.

Crack the eggs into a food processor and add the flour. Whiz it up and listen for the sound changing to a rumble - this means the dough is coming together nicely. Turn the power off and test the consistency by pinching the dough. If it's a bit sticky add a little more flour and pulse again.

Tip the dough mixture onto a floured surface and shape it into a ball using your hands. Give it a little knead until smooth, then divide your dough into 4 equal parts. Start on the thickest setting of your pasta machine and run the first bit of dough through 4 or 5 times, moving the rollers closer together each time until the pasta is silky, smooth and about as thick as a CD. Flour your finished sheet generously, then fold it up and cut across into 1/2-inch strips. Gather all the slices together and toss them through your fingers, with a little flour, to open them up and make your pile of tagliatelle. Place to 1 side and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. In a bowl large enough to rest on top of the pan, put your creme fraiche, fontina or other melting cheese and your Parmesan with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the bowl over the pan for the cheeses to slowly melt. It won't take long. Meanwhile, trim any dry ends off the broccoli, then finely slice the stalks diagonally and leave the florets whole (cutting any larger ones in half).

At this point the cheese sauce should be lovely and oozy, so remove the bowl from above the pan and drop the pasta and broccoli into the boiling water. Boil hard for 2 to 3 minutes, until the pasta is just cooked through. Whip up the 2 egg yolks and the marjoram, or other chosen herb leaves, into the sauce. Drain the pasta and broccoli, reserving a little of the cooking water, and quickly toss them with the sauce - the heat from the pasta will be enough to cook the eggs through. If the sauce is a little thick, add a few splashes of cooking water to make it silky and loose. Taste and season, if necessary. Serve as quickly as you can, with some extra Parmesan sprinkled over the top and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Grand!

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