Sunday, February 15, 2015
Valentine's Day 2015 and a Lesson on Pasta Making
One of the reasons I began writing my blog was to preserve memories as well as recipes. I wanted a "place" I could visit to fetch those recipes and relive those precious memories. As Valentine's day approached my mind went into warp speed trying to come up with the right feast to serve hubby and myself. In the years gone by we had everything from gnocchi, seared scallops, fillet mignon to a limoncello lavender cocktail! One thing was certain, we didn't want to go out to dinner with a zillion other people. So, how to make this night special?
The day began with a brisk walk to the creek and back. We had a premonition that today would be a "pig out" day!
Then, my first Valentine ever came to visit and delivered some luscious dark chocolates! Dad, you really know your daughter well and I love you for that. My mom surprised my hubby with a box of cookies. You see, I'm still a "spoiled" little girl since I've been getting a valentine from dad longer than I can remember and I have the cards to prove it.
Later in the day we drove over to my son's deli/ice creamery to have lunch, of course. The Cuban sandwich was amazing, but the hugs given to him and his beautiful bride were better.
Back at home, I started the prep for dinner. Time to make the home made pasta. I'll give you the recipe I use the most because, for me, it's the easiest. You'll need a food processor, so fetch it from that deep dark cupboard where you may have buried it years ago. Also, if you are lucky enough to have the pasta attachment for a kitchen aid mixer (thanks mom) pasta making is a cinch! Okay, so the first time out it's frustrating, but with every try, it gets better. Here goes.
3 cups flour
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp oil
Put the four into the food processor. Put the eggs into a bowl along with the salt and oil. Beat well, start the processor and begin to pour the eggs in. The dough will turn yellowish and look a bit like cornmeal or small pebbles. To test it, pinch the dough with your fingers. (Make sure you turn off the processor first!) If it clumps together turn it out onto a breadboard sprinkled with flour. Knead until it forms a smooth ball. Place it into a bowl, cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.
When the time is up, remove to the breadboard. Cut into manageable pieces and roll with a rolling pin just enough so you can fit into the pasta roller on lowest setting. Now comes the fun part. Keep sending that piece of dough through the roller and increase the setting every time until you get a long thin piece of pasta which resembles lasagna noodles. I usually put all the rolled out pieces onto a floured cookie sheet.
Then you need to change the roller to a fettuccine noodle attachment. If you don't have these rollers you can always hand roll and cut! (Not in my lifetime!) As I send the long wide noodles through the fettuccine roller, I cup my hands underneath to catch the noodle nests and then place them back onto the cookie sheet. You can sprinkle a bit of flour on each nest and loosen with your fingers so they won't clump together.
To cook, boil some salted water and ease them in. This recipe makes a bunch. I usually cut it in half which serves 4-6 healthy portions. Cooking fresh pasta will be done in a fraction of the time (usually 3-4 minutes as they rise to the top).
For this batch of noodles I picked something from my "food to try bucket list" ......drum roll, please!
Tagliatelle with Wild Boar and Mushroom Sauce inspired by a trip to Tuscany! Stay tuned for the next post!