Shepherd's Pasta

2 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
3 eggs
pinch of salt
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1/2 onion
1 medium zucchini
1 medium eggplant
1 red bell pepper
Tomato Sauce:
small wedge of onion
1/2 carrot
1/2 stalk celery
1 cup crushed tomato sauce
1/2 fresh basil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 ounce dried porcini or champignon mushrooms
2 ounces freshly grated pecorino cheese
1/2 milk
2 ounces ricotta cheese
1 ounce black olives

Prepare the pasta:
Sift the flour and salt onto a work surface and make a well in the center. Break the eggs into the well and mix it with a fork. Draw in flour from the sides and continue to mix until it is well-combined. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and knead it for 10 minutes until it is elastic but still firm. It may be necessary to add more flour to achieve this. Shape the dough into a ball and cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rest for 15 minutes. Knead the dough again for 5-10 minutes until it is very smooth and pliable. Cover the dough and let rest for 20 minutes.

Prepare the vegetable sauce:
Soak the mushrooms for 15 minutes in hot water and then drain and slice. Trim and dice the zucchini and the eggplant. Dice the red bell pepper. Dice the onion. Place a small amount of olive oil and butter in a skillet. Add the onion to the skillet and place it over low heat. Stir in the other vegetables and cook until tender. Remove the pan from the heat.

Prepare the tomato sauce:
Peel and halve a carrot lengthwise. Slice off a small wedge of onion. Pour some oil in another skillet. Add the onion, carrot, and celery to the skillet. Briefly sauté over moderate heat and add the tomato sauce. Add a few basil leaves and a pinch of salt and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the carrot, onion, and celery.

Form the pasta:
Roll the pasta into thick cords, roughly 2 inches/ 5 cm long, between your palms. Pinch the ends shut with your fingers and place them on a lightly floured surface. Let rest for 15 minutes. Cook the pasta in lightly-salted boiling water.

Drain the pasta and add it to the vegetable sauce. Stir to combine and sauté over moderate heat. Spoon in half the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with Pecorino cheese. Add the milk and stir well to combine. Add the remaining tomato sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle the ricotta cheese, remaining basil, and olives over and serve..

Serves: 6

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