I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

daring cooks, july

July! Summer! Heat! And, another challenge: fresh pasta.

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

I have an Olympia stainless steel hand-crank pasta roller. I don't remember buying it; it was early on in my married life and I was likely in a culinary mood. I've used it fairly often, though I wouldn't say it's a regular item at work in my tiny kitchen. It usually lives up on the shelf by the hand blender, winking at me when I open the cupboard door. When I have time and extra hands to help (the kids love rolling it out!) I do prefer the quick cook time and the taste of fresh, homemade pasta. But I've made broad noodles every time I've used it. So with this challenge, I wanted to try something new and so decided to go with stuffed pasta.

I made the pasta from my usual recipe; 2 eggs, a pinch of salt, 2 t vegetable oil, and 1 1/2 cups of flour. Yup, that's it. It's stirred until it forms a ball, kneaded for about 8 minutes, then rests for 30 minutes in the fridge before getting rolled within an inch of its life on the pasta machine.

For filling I thought on flavours and chose chorizo sausage, goat cheese, and basil. The garden is positively full of it these days and I love its fresh, lemony taste in everything I'm cooking lately. I cut the flat sheets of dough into squares, piled on some filling, put a top piece on, and made it round while sealing the edges with a biscuit cutter. They actually looked pretty good (though A said one, my first attempt, looked "pretty mutated").

Ready to cook!

For sauce I made a light mix of tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and a bunch of herbs from the garden: basil (of course!), thyme, oregano, and some chives. Chicken stock and white wine were added, all simmered away while we made the pasta, and a touch of cream was added at the end. Yum. My three food critics (our teenage and pre-teen daughters) all loved the mix of tastes, but we all agreed that the sausage was too defined a texture for the filling. Next time, prosciutto, perhaps?

Finished ravioli with tomato cream sauce
I've been calling this 'ravioli' all along, then realized my pasta terminology might not be right. I did look it up and as long as it's filling between two sheets of pasta, we're good. And that is the plural: a plateful is ravioli, but if you just have one it's a raviolo. There's my word geek moment of the day.

Broad noodles and pesto
As typically works out with my cooking there was more of one part than the other, and we ran out of filling before dough. The rest we cut into my usual broad noodles, boiled them up, and a run out to the garden for a handful of basil leaves (pureed with olive oil and garlic - sadly, no pine nuts!) gave us a nice pesto to toss them with. The fresh taste was perfect for this summer evening.

The one negative? I ate too much. :)


Anna said...

Great variations of this month's challenge! I also ate tooooo much - we had pasta (variations of pasta) 6 days in a row! But it was great fun!

Pozdrowienia. Anula

Andy said...

I think that is a good negative to have! I think I would have eaten too much too!

Jo said...

Extra pasta and eating too much both sound like good things to me! Wonderful job on the challenge.