This is going to be a long post. Long like luscious strands of tagliatelle, as opposed to long like a self-indulgent rambling. Hopefully.
I got a pasta machine last year for Christmas and have absolutely loved it. It’s so insanely delicious and fun, and nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be. I know you can do it without a pasta machine, but I have no idea how. Assuming you have one of these suckers, here’s how it works….
First you make the pasta. I use this recipe:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
On a clean surface make a well with the flour. In a measuring cup mix the eggs, water and oil and salt. Pour the wet mixture slowly into the flour and mix with a fork (or your fingers) until all of the wet is incorporated. Do not force the dough to take all of the flour. Form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for an hour.
At this point, you’ll start kneading the dough with the pasta machine.
- Set up your pasta machine, clamping it to a table or countertop, and turning the dial to the widest setting (usually setting number 1 on the dial). Initially, I divide the pasta dough into two pieces. Working with the first piece (keep remaining piece covered with plastic wrap), flatten it into a rectangle shape. Starting with one of the shorter sides of the rectangle, feed it through the rollers at the fattest setting.
- Once passed through, Fold one side of the piece of dough into the middle, then fold the other side over that to form 3 layers (like a letter) pressing lightly on the top of the piece of dough to seal it. Pass this new pasta letter through the fattest setting (#1) again. Repeat this step 2 times
- Now, keep passing the pasta through the machine, at successively skinnier settings until you reach the desired thickness. At this point, it’s best to work with a helper, so one person can turn the crank and the other person can guide the dough into the machine with one hand and catch it with the other hand, being careful not to stretch or tear the sheet. You may also want to cut it half a few times if it gets too long or fat. It benefits from kneading, so don’t worry if you have to manipulate it a bit.
- At this point, check out a real cookbook. 🙂 If you’re making ravioli or lasagne, you may want thin sheets. If you want fresh pasta, your machine has an add-on that cuts the sheets into lovely strips of pasta.
Here’s some pics of stuff I did….
Butternut squash Ravioli with brown butter & sage
Fresh linguine with mushroom sauce
This is the lighter, healthier version. I promise you that you would never guess that this creamy, deliciousness has so little fat and dairy in it. I wish I had a million recipes like this one. Sigh.
3/4 lb carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 Cup orange juice
4 oz sharp cheddar, grated
3 Cups (~9oz) rigatoni or other large pasta
1 T fresh tarragon (chopped) or 1.5 teaspoons dry tarragon
Salt & Pepper
- Put carrots and orange juice in a pot with a lid. Add as much water as necessary to cover the carrots. Season with a sprinkling of salt, cover and simmer until carrots are very tender (~30 min). If the carrots start to dry out before tender, just add a bit of water.
- Puree carrots and liquid until smooth. Note that steps 1 & 2 can be done 1-2 days ahead
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season liberally with salt and add pasta. Cook until al dente. Using a pyrex measuring cup or similar, remove 1 Cup pasta water before draining.
- Drain pasta. Combine carrot puree and half of water in empty pot. Over very low heat, stir until completely combined and add cheese and tarragon. Stir until combined into creamy cheese sauce.
- Add pasta, stir to combine. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
This dish is the naughty version creamy, deliciously decadent. This recipe can easily be halved and is best served with fresh buttered bread crumbs on top. Yum.
||(12-ounce) can evaporated milk
||teaspoon hot sauce
||teaspoon ground black pepper
||teaspoon dry mustard , dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
||pound macaroni (I sometimes like rigatoni instead)
||tablespoons unsalted butter
|ounces sharp cheddar, grated (about 2 cups)
ounces mont jack, grated (about 1 cup)
- Mix eggs, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, pepper sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, pepper, and mustard mixture in small bowl; set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 quarts water to boil in large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and macaroni; cook until almost tender, but still a little firm to the bite. Drain and return to pan over low heat. Add butter; toss to melt.
- Pour egg mixture over buttered noodles along with three-quarters of the cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and cheese starts to melt. Gradually add remaining milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately
What fool doesn’t like Mac & Cheese? I get that you might not indulge regularly, but everyone loves it, right? To that point, I have two recipes I rely on.
1) a perfect, traditional guilty-pleasure mac & cheese (seen here with filet and roasted asparagus)
2) a ridiculously delicious and much healthier carrot mac & cheese that relies on carrots, orange juice and very little cheese to deliver a serious punch
My crazy husband actually prefers the carrot version. I agree that the healthier version scratches my mac & cheese itch, but prefer? I don’t know. I certainly make it 5x as much, so that counts for something.