Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Satisfaction Of Home Made Pasta

People assume that because I'm so obsessive about food, I must surely be an experienced cook who has turned her hand to most of the common recipes and many of the more unusual or elaborate ones besides.

Truth is, I am neither as adventurous or experienced a cook as you might think.

I love eating, of course – I am certainly an adventurous and experienced eater (though many of my food friends beat me hands down).

But when it comes to cooking, although Pete and I do some great cooking at home from time to time, we also flake out with ready made chicken Kiev and oven chips and a repertoire of easy, familiar and no-brainer dishes that we make again and again.

However, having attended a pasta making course earlier in the year, and then won a pasta making attachment for Intergalactic Unicorn not long afterwards, it was time to jump over this mental hurdle and make our own at home.

For our first attempt, we made a plain and simple tagliatelle using the pasta dough recipe that came with the attachment.

For our second attempt, we got a bit fancier and made ravioli parcels with a ricotta, lemon, parmesan, fresh pea and herbs filling.


Tagliatelle

The dough was decent, the attachment worked like a dream.

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Before too long we had satisfying piles of freshly cut tagliatelle.

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Our only mistake was not buying in any semolina, which Anna (the tutor for the pasta making course) recommended as a good way of stopping the pasta sticking to itself. Flour is too easily absorbed into the pasta whereas a roughly ground semolina is much easier to brush off the pasta.

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Despite the excess flour covering the pasta, it cooked quickly and didn't clump together too badly.

We served it with a simple wild garlic, mushroom and bacon sauce.

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And it was good, if we do say so ourselves!


Ricotta, Lemon, Parmesan, Fresh Pea and Herbs Ravioli

Using a basic pasta dough recipe again, our second pasta making session resulted in beautiful ravioli filled with a ricotta, lemon, Parmesan cheese, fresh peas (from the garden), mint and basil leaves mixture.

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We served them with a simple lemon and basil butter – basil leaves wilted in butter with a little lemon juice stirred in.

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With the exception of the peas, which I left whole to add some texture, the other ingredients were combined in the Magimix. Next time, I'll use the mixer to process the herbs, cheese, lemon zest and juice and then stir the resulting mixture into the ricotta, as I think this would result in a thicker textured mixture. The peas were lightly stirred in last.

I went by taste when making the mixture but you can see my approximate quantities in the photo above.

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We should have cranked the pasta into thinner sheets but were worried that we'd find it hard to handle. The ravioli were delicious but certainly not as thin and delicate as the ones you find at posh restaurants. Still satisfying though!

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Finding enough work surface to lay out the pasta and make the ravioli proved a challenge.

The filling being a little too soft made it hard to feel whether or not one had trapped any air bubbles inside the parcels. A firmer mixture would make it easier to push out the bubbles on sealing, I think.

But none of the ravioli popped open on cooking.

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The finished dish was pretty darn good. Pete found our filling a touch too lemony but my sister and I liked the citrusy kick.

For a great plain pasta dough recipe, see this post.

Next time, we may vary the pasta dough recipe, adding in some spinach or beetroot or other colouring and flavouring ingredients. Any recommendations?

8 comments:

Dom at Belleau Kitchen said...

OMG the ravioli look stunning!!... I never assume anything, its quite possible you don't do any of it (except eat... i've seen both of us do that!!!)... really have always promised myself a pasta machine...

Kavey said...

Heheh, well if you look carefully at the "making" photos on the recipes I do post, you'll see that the hands are white and hairy. I.e. they are Pete's, not mine as he does most of the cooking I just take photos, help and get in the way!

Amy said...

If my stupid, crappy pasta machine was anywhere near workable, I'd be trying to hang on to summer by making these this weekend, they look so tasty : )

tori said...

I love pasta with a serious speckle of black pepper through it- adds a bit of kick and mystery. And easy as hell (gosh I miss my pasta machine. It's in storage, with so much other fun stuff in Sydney). Thanks for the vicarious fun.

Kavey said...

On the course I attended earlier in the year, we did use traditional hand-cranked machines but I struggled to use those, even working with a partner, as I just didn't have enough hands.

So this attachment for the kitchen aid is a saviour, for sure.

Hope people have a go! :)

highinbrixham said...

You know, I got so sick of the fiddle of getting the pasta machine out, clamping it down, and cleaning it afterwards that I soon locked it away in a cupboard and have made pasta with a rolling pin ever since!
Tagliatelle is great. It doesn't have to be critically thin, and is fairly easy to achieve with a rolling pin. Just roll up the rolled, well-floured, dough into a sausage shape and cut rings off, then make your hands into two claw shapes and chuck it all about until it separates. It's not regular like the machine cut variety, but I think it holds the sauce better. And you can have it on the table half an hour after you walk through the door.
My stuffed pasta needs more practice - it does tend to be a bit thick - but I think I can work on that. Yours looks great!

Kavey said...

This attachment doesn't need much cleaning, it's very quick, and fixing it onto the kitchenaid is much quicker than clamping traditional types to the worksurface (given that one tends to use paper or cloth to ensure no damage and so on). So really worthwhile!

Thank you, our filled ones were a touch thick but worked very well. Will go thinner next time!

Mamta said...

I want some of that fabulous looking pasta, please pass the message on to Pete :-)!