Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pasta!

I love pasta! It's quick to prepare and you can do so many things with it. Like dressing it with a simple marinara sauce or sauteed mushrooms with brown butter or even a rich lobster sauce. I keep dried pasta in my pantry but I do prefer fresh. Fresh is really easy to find these days. One just has to make a visit to their favorite grocer and you'll probably find it in the refrigerated section.

We used to have a wonderful fresh pasta store in Atlanta call Via Elisa. She offered a delightful array of pastas. One of her specialties was butternut squash ravioli. Unfortunately she is no longer open. The good news is that she has moved into the sauce making arena. Her sauces are available on-line and at Whole Foods. Visit her site, Via Elisa, for more information. You can sign up for a monthly newsletter as well.

Last Christmas I received a pasta machine from my husband with great expectations that I would be cranking out a variety of offerings. I have made plain pasta, spinach linguine, roasted red pepper spaghetti, and a variety of ravioli over the past year and plan to continue.

Yesterday was a southern snow day, i.e, little snow, lots of ice, so I decided that I'd break out the pasta maker and whip up a batch for dinner. I used a different recipe than I have used in the past and I really liked it. The recipe is from Saveur Cooks, Authentic Italian. This is a fabulous book and I have prepared many dishes from it. I prepared the basic egg pasta recipe, making a couple of additions to it. I also mixed my dough in my new Braun food processor instead of by hand.

Basic Egg Pasta for 4

1 cup unbleached flour
2 large eggs 


Here's where I made my additions. I added 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and one teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. To the eggs, I added 1/2 tablespoons olive oil.

To mix the dough, place the flour, salt and pepper in the work bowl of your food processor. Pulse it several times, combining the dry ingredients. Break eggs into a separate dish and whisk. Add the olive oil and whisk to combine. With the food processor running gradually pour the egg mixture through the feed tube. The dough should begin to 'ball' up and pull together. Process until it forms a ball.

Remove from processor and place on a lightly floured work space. With floured hands, gently knead dough until no longer sticky. You may need to add a bit more flour to achieve this. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for at least 30 minutes.

To proceed, uncover dough and knead with the heel of your hand until dough is smooth, about five minutes. 

Flatten the dough and prepare it for running through a pasta machine or to be cut by hand into the shape and size you desire. I ran mine through the machine and then hand cut into pappardelle noodles.

To cook, bring a pot of water to boil. Add a generous amount of salt and drop noodles in a few at a time. using a pasta 'fork' gently stir to keep noodles from sticking together. Boil for 4-7 minutes depending on how you like your noodles cooked.

Drain and place in a large bowl. Finish with the sauce of your choosing. 
I tossed my pasta with Olio Pomodoro from Sotto Voce, a gift from my son's sweet girlfriend, gave it another grind of black pepper and finished with freshly grated parm. 
The resident taste tester gave it high marks. Always a good thing!



2 comments:

  1. First of all let me just tell you that this photo is much better than the old one. Second I love pasta and I know how labor intense is to make your own pasta. The results though always reward me. This is a great looking dish.

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  2. Whenever I come across a blog post by another chef I just have to jump on in & say hi, when I saw this post for pasta I knew you were a chef after my own heart, great little recipe there too. I love making my own pasta at home & love those lazy days where some serious comfort food is on the agenda too :)
    Great to connect with you, looking forward to reading more :)

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