Pasta Ribbons with Brown Butter and Poppy Seeds

Lasagne ai Semi di Papavero

Contrary to what many people might think when they read this recipe, it is served as a starter, just like any other pasta dish. At the beginning of this century it was all the rage in the lovely and very fashion-conscious city of Trieste. It is obviously a dish that has filtered into the local traditions from the long period of Austro-Hungarian rule over this area. The original name of the dish is Möhnnudeln (poppy noodles). It has a very traditional and typical sweet flavour which is much loved in the area.

If you are making the pasta yourself, you must prepare this dish well in advance, as the pasta dough has to be left for 24 hours before it is cooked.

Ingredients

For the pasta

  • lb (500 g) plain white flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • pinch salt
  • or 1 lb (450 g) ready-made fresh pappardelle or similar wide ribbons of pasta
  • 1 oz (25 g) poppy seeds
  • ½ oz (15 g) rock salt
  • 5 oz (150 g) butter
  • oz (40 g) caster sugar

Method

Make the pasta dough as usual with the flour, eggs and salt. When you have a nice soft dough, cover it with a slightly damp cloth and leave it to rest for 24 hours. Next day, roll it out and cut it into long strips about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. (This is known as lasagne in the area around Trieste.)

Crush the poppy seeds with the salt with a pestle and mortar, or alternatively use a food processor.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a rolling boil. Toss the pasta into the boiling water, stir and cook for about 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to a warmed bowl.

In a second pan, heat the butter until it is hazelnut brown. Cover the pasta with the brown butter and toss, then sprinkle with the poppy seeds and sugar and toss once more before serving.

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