Passatelli all'UrbinatePassatelli are short round noodles formed by pressing dough through a potato ricer into simmering chicken stock. In Emilia-Romagna passatelli are made from a simple dough of bread crumbs, eggs, Parmigiano, lemon zest and nutmeg. In Urbino, in Le Marche, they throw in meat, such as the beef tenderloin here, and truffles too.
½ pound fresh spinach
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, softened
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1 ounces beef marrow (optional, but recommended!)
¾ pound beef tenderloin, cut into ½ inch dice
1 ½ cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
¾ cup dried bread crumbs
5 large eggs
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 ounces white or black truffles
1. Remove and discard and large stems from the spinach. Place the spinach in a large bowl of cold water and move gently to dislodge any sand or dirt, so it falls to the bottom of the bowl. Lift out the spinach. If necessary, repeat with fresh water, then dry in a salad spinner.
2. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, season lightly with salt and pepper, and stir gently until the butter coasts the spinach. Cover the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the the spinach has wilted. Transfer to a colander and drain, pressing the spinach against the colander with the back of a spoon or spatula to eliminate excess water.
3. If using the marrow, bring to a boil in a small saucepan enough chicken stock to cover the marrow. Remove the pan from the heat, add the marrow, and cover the pan with plastic wrap. Let the marrow poach for 2 minutes, then transfer to a small plate. Reserve the stock.
4. In a food processor, combine the beef tenderloin, spinach, marrow (if using), Parmigiano, bread crumbs, the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, the lemon zest, eggs and nutmeg. Blend until very smooth, up to 4 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure even mixing. Transfer to a bowl and season lightly with salt and pepper. To check the seasoning, bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer. Add a small spoonful of the mixture and cook until it rises to the surface. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
5. Carefully clean the truffles (if using) with a brush, removing any dirt on the surface. Set aside.
6. Bring the chicken stock (including the marrow poaching liquid, if any) to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper.
7. Working over the saucepan, press the passatelli mixture through a food mill fitted with the coarse disk, using a knife to cut off 1 ½-inch lengths of dough and letting them drop into the pan. Simmer until the noodles rise to the surface then remove from the heat.
8. Ladle the broth and passatelli into warm bowls. Shave the truffle, if you have it, over the soup. Serve immediately.
Note: To prepare the marrow, soak 8 marrow bones in hot water for about 10 minutes to soften the marrow. Drain, and push the marrow out of each bone. Put the marrow in a small container and add 3 tablespoons white vinegar, a pinch of kosher salt, and enough cold water to cover. Refrigerate overnight then drain before using.
(This recipe and more can be found in Fabio's cookbook, Cucina of Le Marche, on sale at the restaurant.)