Homemade Pasta

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Since today has been storming on and off I thought a warm filling dinner would be appropriate.  I checked out my list, raided our refridgerator and pantry and decided to try my hand at homemade pasta.  As usual as soon as I decide to make something, I think of the tools needed to execute the recipe.  Today I immediately thought of a rolling pin.  I know exactly where ours is in my parents basement (thanks again for letting us store everything we really own down there mom + dad).  I glanced into the kitchen to come up with my plan and noticed an empty wine bottle...done deal.

Next I thought of the sauce/toppings.  Again, back to the pantry and refrigerator.  Then the idea struck me: my cousin Colin and his wife Margie have a wonderful garden in the summer.  I should mention that their twin children Kaitlin and Isaac help as well.  Funny side story Colin and Margie met while playing volleyball together in a summer league. So did my brother Jeff and sister (in-law) Emily.  Both had twins...interesting coincidence huh?  So, if you want to have twins, meet your sig-other on the sand volleyball court.  But, back to the garden....Colin and Margie are always very generous with the produce they harvest.  Over Easter they were handing out frozen sweet peas and pickles.  Since then we have had this gorgeous bag of frozen peas in our freezer.  Great opportunity to use these beauties.

My favorite pasta of all time (since I was about 7) is from Ciatti's in St. Cloud, Minnesota.  They make this wonderful Tortellini Straw + Hay.  Cheese filled pasta with ham, mushrooms and peas with a cheesy cream sauce.  Amazing.  I don't have any mushrooms but we do have left over-proscutto from the pork saltimbocca I made a few weeks ago.  Dish made. We have heavy whipping cream and parm in the fridge as well.  So, here we go!

Musical selection: Heart of Life by John Mayer.  Just a nice little rainy-day ditty.

To begin, I found the recipe for the pasta from my Home and Gardens Cookbook.  As you can see there are a few recipes in here that I would like to try out.

Begin by mixing the flour and salt.  The recipe in the cookbook called for basil, marjoram or sage in the pasta as well.  I wanted to keep this as simple as it gets so I left out the spices.

Create a well in the flour and salt.

Mix together the egg, water and oil. Add to the well.
Stir just to combine.

Dump the mixture onto a floured surface aka your counter.

Kneed the dough for 8-10 minutes.  Let rest for about 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into equal parts so that it is easy to roll.  Especially if you are using a wine bottle for a rolling pin.
Roll each section of the dough into a 12' square...or do the best you can.
Let these squares rest for an additional 20 minutes.  To be honest with you, I have no idea what this second resting does.  But, I follow directions when I don't know what I am doing.

Behold: the Pasta Crime Scene
The cookbook showed rolling the pasta and then cutting so thats what I did...at first.  Then I tried to use a ravioli cutter, then moved onto the pizza cutter.  That is what ultimately worked best.  Very uneven rustic pasta in the end.

Bring a sauce pan of water to a boil.  Add salt to season the water.  This is the only chance you really have to "season" the pasta so make sure you add a good amount of salt.

Cook pasta for about 2 minutes.  I had Mr. Schwartz cook the pasta as I whipped up the sauce quick.

I cut the pancetta quickly and sauteed this with a little red onion in butter and olive oil.
Once the onions cook for a about three minutes I added the peas that were still frozen and some garlic.

After the onions turn translucent, I removed them the pancetta and the peas from the pan.

Next, I added a little additional butter and cream to start the sauce.  Bring to a slight boil...make sure to keep stirring so that it doesn't scald.

Once the mixture comes to a boil add the parmesan cheese.  Crack some pepper and add a pinch of salt.
Add the hot cooked onions, peas and pancetta to the sauce.
Add the pasta...toss together.
Plate the pasta and top with additional cheese and parsley.
I understand this is a huge portion of pasta--we skipped lunch today since we were held captive in a department store while the sirens were going off for an hour. 

I was very surprised how easy it really was to make homemade pasta!  I can imagine it being even easier with a real rolling pin.

Thanks Colin + Margie for the AMAZING sweet peas.  They really made the dish!


Homemade Pasta 

    • 2-1/3
      cups all-purpose flour
    • 1
      teaspoon dried basil, marjoram, or sage, crushed (optional)
    • 1/2
      teaspoon salt
    • 2
      eggs, beaten
    • 1/3
      cup water
    • 1
      teaspoon cooking oil or olive oil

In a large bowl stir together 2 cups of the flour, the basil (if desired), and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In a small bowl combine eggs, water, and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir to combine.

Sprinkle a clean kneading surface with the remaining 1/3 cup flour. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes total). Cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into four equal portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each dough portion into a 12-inch square (about 1/16 inch thick). Let stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes. Cut as desired. If using a pasta machine, pass each portion through machine according to manufacturer's directions until dough is 1/16 inch thick. Let stand; cut as desired.

To cook pasta (we made fettuccine), boil water in a large sauce pan.  Season water with salt.  Add pasta a little at a time so that the water does not stop boiling.  Sirr occasionally.  We cooked our pasta for about 2 minutes....check frequently this goes fast.  

To store cut pasta, hang it from a pasta-drying rack or clothes hanger, or spread it on a wire cooling rack. Let pasta dry overnight or until completely dry. Place in an airtight container and chill for up to 3 days. Or dry the pasta for at least 1 hour; place it in a freezer bag or freezer container and freeze for up to 8 months.

Serves 5 

Parmesan Cream Sauce with Pancetta, Onions and Fresh Sweet Peas

4 Tbs Butter
1 C Whipping Cream or Fat Free 1/2 and 1/2
1/2-3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese 
3-4 Slices of Pancetta 
1/4 Onion or Red Onion
1 C Sweet Peas
1 Garlic clove or about a teaspoon 

Start by sauteing the onion and pancetta in a tablespoon of butter 1-2 minutes.
Add frozen peas and garlic.
Remove onion, pancetta and peas.
Add remaining butter.
Add whipping cream/ 1/2 and 1/2 bring to slight boil.  Whisk constantly
Add parmesan cheese, crack pepper and salt to taste. 
Add hot pasta.
Return onion, pancetta and peas.  Toss with pasta and sauce.
Plate pasta top with additional cheese.


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