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I find long Neapolitan maccheroni with fine holes and sturdy walls to be best for this, because they absorb the sauce and dont overcook. This will feed 12 people; you can modify it as you wish. 3/4 pound pasta, either bucatini or perciatelli 3 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano 6 oz sweetbreads 5 tablespoons butter 3 oz truffles (optional) 1 oz prosciutto A handful of dried porcini giblets of 3-4 chickens Nutmeg to taste Dont be frightened by this hodgepodge; it will disappear under the pie crust. Cook the maccheroni half way in salted water, drain them, and simmer them over a very low flame with the meat sauce of recipe number 2 until they have absorbed the sauce and are al dente. Meanwhile, set the porcini to steep in boiling water, make a bechamel sauce using half the ingredients listed in recipe below, and saute the giblets and sweetbreads in butter, seasoning them with salt and pepper; when theyve browned lightly, sprinkle them with meat sauce and simmer them until done. Cut the giblets and sweetbreads into pieces the size of hazel nuts, cut the prosciutto into thin strips, finely slice the truffles and the porcini, and mix everything together, seasoning the mixture with a pinch of nutmeg. I assume you will already have prepared a pie crust using the ingredients listed in recipe for shortbread , plus a little bit of grated lemon zest, as it needs to sit for several hours. Now that you have assembled all the ingredients, you can put your pie together. There are several techniques for this; I prefer the one followed in Romagna, where they use specially made, well tinned copper pie pans. Take one of a size proportionate to the volume of your ingredients and butter it. Drain the maccheroni and lay down an initial layer. Sprinkle it with grated cheese, dot it with bits of butter, and spread some of the giblet mixture over it. Lay down another layer of noodles and repeat the process, continuing till all the ingredients are used up and the pan is full. Roll the dough out with a smooth rolling pin till its as thin as a coin, roll it once with a ribbed rolling pin to pattern the surface, and cover the pie. Roll out two more strips and lay them down in the shape of a cross to reinforce the crust, then crimp down a strip around the border of the pie, and, if you are good at shaping pastry ornaments, use the remaining dough for that purpose, not forgetting to place a pretty bow in the center of the pie. Brush the pie with egg yolk and bake it [at 450 F for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake it for 30 minutes more]. Serve it hot, to those eagerly waiting to do it justice. BALSAMELLA Bechamel sauce This is equivalent to the bechamel sauce of the French, except that theirs is more complicated. Set a pot with a tablespoon of flour and a piece of butter the size of an egg on the fire. Use a spoon to stir the butter and flour, and when the mixture has turned golden brown, slowly add two cups of the best milk, stirring constantly, until the liquid appears to be a milk-like cream. This is a bechamel. If it comes out too stiff, add more milk; should it be too liquid return it to the fire and add another piece of butter rolled in flour. This recipe makes a substantial amount, but you can vary the quantities according to your needs. A good bechamel sauce and a properly cooked meat sauce are the principal secrets of refined cooking. [Making a bechamel sauce isn't as easy as Artusi suggests, at least not on the first attempt. Once you've heated the butter and flour, add the milk very slowly, while stirring. The flour will bubble and expand; stir vigorously to keep lumps from forming. Should they form anyway, reduce the flow of milk to a trickle until you've stirred them out. Once you've added all the milk, stir the sauce slowly over a moderate flame until it thickens. Depending upon what you plan to use it for, you may wish to season it with salt and pepper to taste. Making bechamel sauce in a microwave oven is much easier and faster than making it over the stove. Melt the butter and stir in the flour, then stir in the milk and, if you wish, salt and pepper. Heat the sauce on high power for 1 minute and stir it briskly till most of the lumps are gone. Heat it for five more minutes at medium power, stirring every minute or so. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, and it's ready. Crema Pasticcera (Pastry cream) can also be made this way.] PASTA FROLLA Shortbread 5 2/3 cups flour 1 cup sugar or less 7/8 cup butter 3/8 cup lard or 1 1/8 cups butter 2 eggs plus one yolk If you want to roll out the shortbread without any trouble, grind the sugar very fine (I use powdered sugar [If you choose to follow Artusi's lead, keep in mind that you will have to double the volume of sugar listed here.]) and mix it with the flour; if the butter is stiff, moisten your hand and cream it on your work surface. Make a dough with all the ingredients, handling it as little as possible, because otherwise it will, as cooks say, burn*; to avoid this you will be best off using a knife blade or a pastry blender to do the mixing. If it^Rs more convenient for you to make the dough a day ahead, do so, for it won^Rt come to harm; it also improves with age after it is baked because it becomes steadily flakier. To use it for crostate**, pastries, or whatever, roll it out with a smooth rolling pin, and then, for appearances sake, roll the upper side with a patterned rolling pin and brush it with egg yolk. Notes: The air will be driven out of the dough and gluten will form, resulting in a heavy, non flaky shortbread A crostata is a pastry made with a layer of shortbread, covered with either jam, custard or fresh fruit. Crostate are one of the traditional Tuscan desserts, and Artusi describes several.
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