Okay, I know today’s Fiddlehead Farfalle with Saint-André Cream Sauce bears more than a passing resemblance to my last recipe, but… there is no but. I have no excuse. When spring hits I fall into a vat of cream sauce and vibrant greens. I’m speaking metaphorically, of course, but even this exaggeration occasionally borders on the truth. I’m not sure if it’s due to my excessive exposure to Pasta Primavera as a child or my aesthetic preoccupation with pairing green and white, but to me, spring cuisine means cream sauce, greens kissed with garlic and butter, and glass after glass of white wine.
At the risk of sounding like a wedding shower personified, I want to reassure you that spring also means the beginning of baseball season. Baseball season calls for an entirely different kind of menu – more on that in a few days. So, if you’re over the cream and greens, hope is on the horizon. But today, I’m going to continue rocking the classy French-ish vibes of last week with this Fiddlehead Farfalle.
I’m pretty excited about this dish because it contains more than a few of my favorite things. Let’s start with fiddleheads. These funny little greens and I have a complicated history. When I was young, I hated them with a passion. At that point in my life, I also hated butternut squash, so clearly, I was insane. As I progressed from awkward teenager to awkward adult, I found myself feeling weirdly nostalgic for fiddleheads. I decided to give them another shot. This second first taste solidified my suspicion that I was insane as a child because this time I loved them. And I have ever since.
Fiddleheads have a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of season. So, if you see them in your grocery store, pounce! You may not get another chance. I know some people get wigged out over fiddleheads because if they are not stored or cooked properly they can lead to food poisoning. This has never ever happened to me, but if you’re worried, I get it. So, if you hesitated and missed fiddlehead season or you feel no green is worth the risk of a rough night, feel free to sub them for rapini or collards.
With the disclaimers out of the way, let’s move on to happier, cheesier things: Saint-André cheese. For those of you who are not acquainted with this creamy slice of heaven, let me enlighten you. Saint-André is a French triple cream cheese made from cow’s milk. It is an impossibly rich cheese that has long been a favorite of mine. When I’m enjoying it as part of a cheese board, I tend to pair it with a cream cracker, honey, and fresh cracked pepper. Really, there’s no reason to do anything else to it. But when the evil idea of putting your all-time favorite creamiest cheese it in a cream sauce enters your mind, it’s pretty hard to ignore.
Finally, we have farfalle, arguably the best pasta shape to ever grace a bowl or plate. I know that statement will be hotly debated – I’m currently debating with myself – but it doesn’t matter. Farfalle is fun. I mean, it looks like bowties, what’s not to love about that? And I love that the pinch in the middle stays a little more al-dente than the rest of the piece. It’s all about contrast.
This was my first attempt at hand forming farfalle and, to be honest, it wasn’t that hard. No, I’m not a pasta perfectionist, and no, I’m not trying to fluff my pasta-forming ego. It just wasn’t nearly as hard to make farfalle as I anticipated. It was actually kind of meditative – more relaxing than yoga in my book.
While it may be counterproductive to bikini-body goals (whatever those are) to adopt a cream-sauce-heavy diet in the middle of spring, I feel I should remind you that you only live once and this Fiddlehead Farfalle is really freaking good.
What? I think it’s a compelling argument.
- 1 batch sauteed fiddleheads
- 1 batch fresh farfalle
- 1 batch Saint Andre Cream Sauce
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup roasted unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- 340 g (12 oz) durum semolina
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 whole eggs
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups fresh fiddleheads
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 200 g (7 oz) Saint-André Cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt to taste
- Place semolina and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Form a well in the center.
- Crack the eggs in the center of the well. Pour in the olive oil and water and work the dry ingredients into the wet until a crumbly dough forms.
- Turn the dough onto a surface dusted with semolina and knead until the dough becomes uniform. 7-10 minutes.
- Form the dough into a ball and cover with a clean dish cloth. Let rest for 30 minutes.
- Cut the dough into 8 parts and flatten each into discs.
- Using a pasta machine (I used the KitchenAid Pasta Attachment) roll the dough to the advised thickness. Setting #4 on my machine.
- Cut sheets into 1x1.5-inch rectangles.
- Pinch the center of the rectangle and fold the middle edges around the pinch in the opposite direction - think of an accordion. Repeat with all rectangles.
- Dust finished shapes with semolina and set aside.
- Rinse fiddleheads thoroughly in cold water.
- Place fiddleheads in a small saucepan and cover with water.
- Heat the saucepan over high heat until it comes to boil. Without reducing the heat, let the fiddleheads cook for 10-12 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Once the butter melts, add the garlic and saute until fragrant. About 3-5 minutes.
- Add the fiddleheads and toss to coat. Remove from heat and sprinkle with salt.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and form a roux. Cook until golden and fragrant.
- Whisk the wine into the roux until a smooth paste forms.
- Slowly whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the cheese. Stir until the cheese melts and is completely integrated.
- Stir in the mustard and season with salt to taste.
- Cook the farfalle according to package directions or, if using fresh, cook in boiling water for 3 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the cream sauce. Add the fiddleheads and lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Divide pasta amongst bowls and garnish with chopped pistachios and Parmesan cheese.