Simple Pasta

This afternoon in an attempt to distract myself from my ever present pregnancy heart burn I decided I would make pasta. I had been contemplating making pasta since January, however, contemplation only became action today.

A bit of background to my pasta making journey.

Earlier in the year my parents hosted a cooking dinner party with some of their friends whereby the premise of the dinner party (or rather all day cooking party) was that as a guest you needed to bring a recipe that you would teach everyone else how to make. It was my parents idea to have a progressive cooking day, actually my Dad to be precise who thought it would be a noble idea to get their friends together and share cooking skills. To be honest, I nearly didn’t make this all day rendez-vous. It required significant badgering, pleading and begging to gain a place at this table. My Dad was adamant this dinner party was for eight people. Our table only seats eight people. As it happened it was the weekend of the Australia Day rain and two guests could not attend, meaning both Hubby and I not only were able to go but we also gained a place AT the table! While a lot of QLD struggled with grueling rain and wild winds, we all spent the day inside learning to cook from an Italian, a German and a Spaniard.  All the dishes were delicious and I can not wait to re-discover my Godmother’s Paella and my Grandma’s & Mama’s Strudel, however, tonight is an Italian affair. More specifically a Pasta affair.

While I watched said Italian make pasta, I was mesmerized to another time. A simple time. Flour, egg and salt. That is all that is needed. I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t make their own pasta. At the time we had about ten packets of opened ‘fancy’ pasta in our cupboard, organic rye, spelt, basically by fancy I mean we bought it in the deli for $8 a packet! Perhaps that is why it took six months for me to make my own pasta? Or perhaps I just forgot about the simplicity?

I am pleased to say that I have re-discovered the simplicity and honestly loved my afternoon rolling out fresh pasta. I also loved that I was able to walk out to my garden, pick some fresh green spinach and basil to accompany my first attempt at homemade pasta. It might be a bit naive to say that from now on I always want to make my own pasta. I am sure once the little one is around this might be more of challenge,  however, hopefully this very post can remind me of simplicity.

Spinach & Pesto Fettuccine

Pasta –

400 grams of flour, four eggs (pinch of salt)

Mix the ingredients together, I used the Kitchen aid with the dough hook. Add a bit of chilled water if the dough is a bit crumbly.    Or a bit of flour if the dough is too wet. Once the dough forms a ball knead for 2 -3 minutes. You can tell the pasta is ready if it springs back when you touch it.  Rest for 30 minutes then cut into three workable pieces of dough. Make sure you cover the unused dough with a tea towel to keep it moist.  Roll out piece of dough with rolling pin and then put through the pasta machine. I have to admit this end result looks great, smooth, thin pasta ready to be cut into fettuccine. However, it took a bit of time to get to this stage. When I first put the dough through the machine it kept breaking and stretching. I keep folding in the ends of the dough, and then folding in half, sprinkling with flour and then back into the machine. Finally when it seems liked this pasta was a disaster it just worked! It was smooth and shiny. I then continued to roll the pasta through the machine making a long sheet of pasta, lucky I have a long kitchen bench! Then put the pasta through a fettuccine cutter.

 

Pesto –

fresh basil, parmesan, pine nuts,  garlic, olive oil

We had an excess of basil in our garden and I decided pesto was the way to go. I processed the cheese and nuts first then added the basil, garlic and olive oil. Because this pesto was a last minute creation we didn’t have enough parmesan and pine nuts, so I added in cheddar cheese and activated macadamia nuts.

Spinach –

fresh from the garden, finely sliced and wilted in some real butter.

Cook the pasta for about 2 minutes in boiling water, strain and mix in fresh pesto and cooked spinach.

Here it is, my take on a simple pasta, a true combination of my kitchen and garden.

 

Made with Love

xox

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