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Pappardelle With Hazelnut Cream

Pappardelle With Hazelnut Cream
Laura McCandlish for NPR

A sauce this decadent -- a creamy pesto with a whisper of nutmeg -- demands fresh pasta. It's probably only worth making your own if you have a pasta machine. But refrigerated ones sold at grocery stores and fresh pastas increasingly sold at farmers markets are good substitutes. This hearty recipe comes from chef Jenn Louis of Lincoln Restaurant in Northeast Portland.

Makes at least 4 servings

7 ounces hazelnuts, toasted and loose skins removed

2 cloves garlic, peeled

12 ounces heavy cream

2 tablespoons dry Marsala

5 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for garnish

10 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes

Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 pound pappardelle (or tagliatelle), preferably fresh*

2 tablespoons butter

Combine toasted hazelnuts and garlic in food processor, or chop fine. Add cream, Marsala, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, olive oil, cocoa, chili flakes and nutmeg. Process until combined and the texture is rough. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water until just al dente. Put sauce in pan, gently melt butter into sauce and add noodles. Gently cook over medium heat and finish cooking as noodles absorb sauce. Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

*Homemade Pappardelle

10 ounces soft "00" (available at Italian markets) or all-purpose flour

3/4 cup egg yolks (from about 9 to 10 eggs)

Semolina flour, for dusting

Place flour in mixer fitted with a dough hook and add 3/4 of the egg yolks. Mix on medium speed for 10 minutes, gradually adding remaining egg yolks as needed to attain desired texture. Dough should roughly come together. There should be no powdery flour, but the dough should not fully come together like bread dough. It should be moist and in clumps, roughly resembling a brain. Dough should be moist and soft, but not cohesive.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and leave on counter to hydrate for 1 hour.

Roll out the dough using a pasta machine. At finish, dough should go twice through the second to thinnest setting. Lightly flour dough between settings. This will help keep the dough from cracking. At the finished product, you should be able to see your fingers through the bottom of the dough. Cut dough into sheets and dust the top of each sheet with semolina. Loosely roll each sheet into a cylinder. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide slices. Unwrap the noodles; dust with semolina and gently toss to separate. Place on a sheet pan and cover with a tea towel until ready to cook.

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