Fusi istriani with slow cooked lamb ragu

Updated: Jun 23

Fusi istriani: such an elegant shape of pasta!


Thanks to a small amount of white wine, the dough has such an intense perfume that makes it very unique and quite different from other kinds of fresh pasta.

Fusi look very similar to garganelli pasta as they have the same tubular shape. However there are a few significant differences between fusi and garganelli that makes them taste and look dissimilar:

- the dough: Fusi use egg water and wine in their dough, as opposed to egg based dough for Garganelli.

- the shape: Fusi have a perfectly smooth cylinder shape while garganelli have ridges perpendicular to their length.

Fusi are often served with a rich meat or poultry ragu or broth. Cream sauces with added vegetables are also perfect!

Making this shape of fusi is very simple and quick.


RECIPE

Makes 3 serves - Preparation time 1 hour - resting time 30 min - cooking time 3 hours


Pasta dough:

  • 150g all purpose flour (or 00 flour),

  • 50g wholemeal flour,

  • 1 egg,

  • 1 tbs white wine,

  • 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil,

  • 3 tbs water

Ragu:

  • 1kg lamb shoulder, cubed into 10-12 pieces

  • salt and black pepper

  • extra virgin olive oil,

  • 1 brown onion, diced

  • 1 carrot, diced

  • 2 celery stalks, diced

  • ¼ cup red wine

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary

  • 8/10 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2 large spoonfuls tomato paste

  • 2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes

  • 600ml vegetable stock

  • 200ml milk, optional

  • Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1. MAKING THE DOUGH

On a clean, level surface make a little mound with the flours and create a well in the center. Break the egg into the well, add wine, oil and water, and mix with a fork until everything is combined. As soon as the dough is coming together, use both hands to knead it for 10–15 minutes until it becomes firm but elastic. Don’t skimp on the kneading! If you don’t knead the pasta enough, it will break when you try to roll it out. After you’ve made the dough, cover and let it rest in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes.

2. ROLLING THE PASTA DOUGH

After resting, the pasta is ready to be rolled out into a thin sheet using a pasta machine, or if you’re really old school, a rolling pin. Don’t roll the dough too thin as you would for ravioli. This pasta doesn’t have a filling so you want to have a bite when eating it. With a pasta machine I usually roll the dough to one level thicker than what I normally would use for ravioli. With my pasta roller, I took it to #5 (I usually go to #6 for ravioli). Every pasta roller is different, so you may have to experiment a bit if you are unsure.

3. SHAPING FUSI

Cut the dough into 3,5 cm squares. I know they look tiny, but once cooked they will become bigger.

Lightly flour the surface you are working on and a little wooden stick.

Lay a square of pasta pointing towards you, so it looks like a diamond. Fold the lower end corner over the wooden stick and roll the pasta using a little pressure, then remove the fusi you just made from the stick.

Repeat until you’ve used up all the pasta and leave the fusi to dry for a few hours before cooking them. Touch them and see how they feel. It is not at all necessary for them to be completely dried out, but you want to feel them firming up. There really shouldn’t be any stickiness to them at all. If you cook them while they are still soft they will just collapse in on themselves.


Once firm, they are ready to embrace all the goodness of a lamb ragu’!

4. MAKING RAGU: THE RIGHT CUT OF LAMB!

For lamb ragu, the cut of choice is obviously lamb shoulder. A tough cut that holds up beautifully to slow cooking. Once it is cooked, lamb shoulder shreds beautifully & stays very tender. Plus the fattiness of the cut adds a ton of rich flavor to the ragu.



5. BROWN THE LAMB Use paper towels to pat the lamb as dry as you can and season with salt and black pepper. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the lamb for 3-4 minutes each side until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate to rest.

6. NOW VEGETABLES AND HERBS

Add onion and cook, stirring, until it has become translucent, then add chopped carrot and celery. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat well.

Put the lamb back into the saucepan, add herbs and stir well.

Add wine and let it evaporate over high heat.

When it comes to wine, you’ll want to use something that’s drinkably nice. You do want to use something that complements the flavors of the ragu really nicely without competing with it, like a Barbera d’Alba for example.

Add tomato paste, tomato and stir well, cooking for 1 minute. Lastly add the stock. Cover and bring to the boil over high heat. Turn the heat down and let the ragu simmer away on the stovetop. Simmer, turning halfway during cooking, for 2 hours 30 minutes or until sauce is thick and meat is tender. Discard the herbs. Transfer lamb to a large plate and using 2 forks, coarsely shred the lamb. Remove and discard the fat and bones. Add the shredded meat back into the tomato mixture and stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.

One final, but very important step, is to finish the slow cooked ragu with milk. Stir well and cook for a further two minutes.

Now your ragu is ready to hug those beautiful handmade fusi!

7. COOKING PASTA

Bring a large pot of salted water (a spoonful for each litre of water) to the boil. Add the fusi, and stir gently with a wooden spoon, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, and toss with the sauce in a frying pan. Add a few tablespoons of the pasta water, a drizzle of olive oil and combine together.

Garnish with some freshly grated Parmesan and enjoy!

ABOUT THE WINE

We loved this pasta, and paired it with a wonderful Barbera d’Alba from Piedmont!



Hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, please let me know your thoughts and tag me on my Fb page Pasta Journey or my Instagram a_pasta_journey . I would love to hear from you!




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