I love eating fresh pasta. Sometimes, as a special treat I pick some up from Pasta Genova's, the local Italian grocery. I usually choose a flavoured linguine, like spinach, and whip up an alfredo sauce to go with.
For my birthday I got a pasta attachment for my kitchen aid mixer. It was sent in the mail from my mum, and it arrived February 14th. I opened it as soon as it arrived, but pretended that I waited until my birthday, and then confessed to my mother within 10 seconds of speaking to her on the phone! I'm not usually a "peaker", I love surprises! What happened was that I sort of opened it by mistake, not knowing what it was.
I've made pasta from scratch a few years ago with my mum. She has one of those hand-crank pasta rollers, the kind that attach to the table. We made beet tortellini. The process was tricky, and the dough was more dumpling-like than pasta-like. I was a bit nervous to make pasta on my own, but on Sunday afternoon with a half glass of wine, I was up for the challenge!
When I was growing up, my mum would cook pasta occasionally. We would have spaghetti or penne for the noodle and a tomato sauce with ground beef. It was always the same and never spicy! Egg noodles were strictly reserved for when we ate beef stroganoff. My mum would make it in the slow cooker and serve it over egg noddles with sour cream on top. So yummy!
I decided to make papparedelle, a wide egg noodle. I watched a couple of Youtube videos with various recipes and used 3 ¼ cup flour and 4 (and a little bit) eggs. I created a pile with the flour and made a hole for the eggs. I carefully whisked the eggs and incorporated them into the flour. I kneaded the flour for a few minutes but it wasn't coming together very well. I cracked another egg and incorporated just a bit of it. My mum has told me the harder pastry is to roll, the better the pie crust tastes. I kept this in mind, hoping the same would apply with pasta dough.
I let the dough rest while I started the sauce. I came back to it and kneaded it for a few more minutes and it seemed okay (and yes, just "okay", I still had my doubts and was wondering if I needed to use the back-up pasta I bought from the grocery store!). I flattened the dough and cut the disc like a pizza into 8 triangles. I flattened the first piece out and fit it through the pasta attachment. After multiple iterations through the machine, I could see the dough was a success! When the dough was about 1 mm thick, I rolled it up and cut it into noodles! It was so fun! I let them dry and gathered the noodles into nests. I cooked the noodles for about 2-3 minutes. They were so yummy, and the experience was so fun! I can't wait to make pasta again!
Two-Meats Tomato Sauce
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ lb lean ground beef
¼ lb ground pork
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried basil
salt and pepper
4 cups Italian plum tomatoes
1 cup water
Melt butter and olive oil in skillet. Sauté onion and garlic until softened.
Add meat and cook until no longer pink. Stir in herbs and spices.
Stir in tomatoes, 1 cup of water; simmer gently, until thick, about 1 hour.
Makes 4 cups, enough for 1 lb pasta or gnocchi.
Notes: I didn't have dried basil, so I used about 4 big leaves of fresh basil. I also ran out of ground cinnamon (how did that happen!?) so I used a cinnamon stick. I simmered the sauce with the stick in for about 20 minutes.
*Recipe from the Farm and City Cookbook