04 March 2009

A Labor of Love

Well, I did it. I got out my pasta maker for the first time in probably 10 years! In our first couple of years of marriage I would make it every so often. But for some reason after we bought a house and started our family, living life sort of pushed time-consuming pleasures like making homemade pasta out of the picture.

I've decided that I have to do this more often. It's just SO DELICIOUS!!!! It's a labor of love, but so worth it. If you haven't ever eaten freshly made pasta, you simply must try it sometime. The difference is amazing! Plus it's a fun kitchen project to do with my daughter (and maybe my son~sometime in the future:).

I have one of those small manuel pasta machines, but you don't necessarily need one to make pasta. You could just cut it into whatever shapes you wanted manually. The machine is handy for thinning out the pasta and making thin noodles like fettuccine, but it is really hard to clean up. I guess that's the trade off.

I thought I would share the process with you though....here we go....

1. Make your dough. I use this simple recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook:
Homemade Pasta
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 tsp. salt
2 beaten eggs
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. olive oil (or canola)
In a large bowl stir together 2 cups of the flour and the salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, water and oil; add to the flour mixture. Mix well. Sprinkle kneading surface with the remaining flour. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead till dough is smooth and elastic (8-10 minutes total). Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
Divide dough into fourths. On a lightly floured surface, roll each fouth into a 12"x12" square. Let stand 20 minutes, then cut as desired.
Or if using a pasta machine, pass dough through machine according to manufacturer's directions till 1/16" thick; cut as desired.

2. Here's what that process looks like with my machine:

thinning out the dough

finished fettuccine noodles

(this is what you look like if your hubby comes in the kitchen to "help")
3. Then I simply hang up the pasta to *dry* until I'm ready to cook it. Of course, I've always cooked mine the same day I make it, so it's not really dried out. If you'd like to store it, simply let it dry overnight or so. Place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Or, dry the pasta for at least 1 hour. Seal it in a freezer bag or freezer container and freeze for up to 8 months.
I don't have a fancy pasta-drying rack, but hangers work just fine!

4. To cook fresh pasta, simply bring your salted water to a rolling boil as usual, but cook for a much shorter time, depending on the type of pasta. For instance, my fettuccine only cooked about 4 minutes.

5. To make my *Straw & Hay*, I simply added (after draining the cooked pasta):
4-5 Tbls. whipping cream (room temperature)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (must be freshly grated)
1-2 Tbls. butter
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup torn bits of deli ham
Simply heat through, stirring often so as not to scorch. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper, if desired. Serves 2-3.
The reward: a very happy and appreciative hubby!!


Raggedy Girl said...

This sounds like so much fun. and the Straw and Hay recipe sounds really good. I am going internet shopping today and might look for a little pasta machine. Thanks for the information.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday
from Roberta Anne

Betsy said...

I make homemade chicken and noodles once a year, so I know all the work it takes! And the little I know about Vince from your blog, I know he appreciated the extra work and enjoyed the yummy meal, too! (The Mister is like this, too...so nice to cook for hubbys like this, isn't it?)

Lora said...

Yes, it is great to cook for an appreciative hubby! I added a pic so you can see how happy he looked:)

Michelle M. said...

That is really impressive. My Nonna used to make homemade pasta and it was my favorite. I need to try that some time..

Kayren, Pink Daisy Girl said...

Vince does look very happy. You can see the true appreciation on his face. I love that!

I have to admit, I don't know that I would ever try this, Lora. It's just a little too much for me. You got me when I saw the hanging pasta up to dry. Up until that point I was with you. :)

And of course I'd leave the peas out of the recipe...

Happy Birthday to Vince!

Lora said...

Well, Karyren, I have to admit I probably wouldn't be up for making it for a family of 6 either! That recipe just fed us well~with no leftovers! You'd probably have to at least triple the recipe and that would be a lot of pasta machine cranking and noodle separating:)

Song Lee said...

First of all, when I read labor for love, I thought you were talking about mending Vince's ankle - LOL.
Secondly, wow that is a labor of love. You're such a sweet Martha! ;)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I love home made pasta! Your recipe looks delicious and your husband looks so happy --so worth the work!

Snow White said...

I've been looking for a great homemade pasta recipe -- thanks!

Nancy said...

You are an amazing wife and mother...what a beautiful labor of love! It looks delicious! I'm sure vince enjoyed it...I hope he had a very Happy Birthday!

Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

I'm seriously impressed! I've never done this before. Your family is so blessed to have you!