Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cooking Up Homemade Pasta

After some fantastic pasta eating in Italy, I decided it was time to put my six-plus-year-old pasta plates for my stand mixer to work and craft up a homemade batch of noodles.

The absolutely most fantastic dish I had during our brief Italian vacation was a "gnoccietti" in garlic cream sauce with mushrooms and pancetta.  Readers may be familiar with gnocci, the small potato dumplings cooked like pasta; gnocietti are small gnocci, though they may be made from wheat flour instead of potato.  I decided to emulate at least the gnocietti--if not the sauce, at least not this evening with a weekend of hard labor at the garden and laying tile in the basement behind me--and whipped up a batch of basic pasta dough, which I flavored with some of my homemade pesto:

  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup ground semolina
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp basil pesto
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • water, as needed
I beat the eggs and added them to the flour and salt, mixed, and then added in the pesto and a couple of tablespoons of water to bring the dough together, then it was time for the Kitchen Aid to take to kneading the dough and putting the gluten in the flour to work.  After about 7-10 minutes of kneading, the dough went into the fridge while I prepped the boiling water and got my pasta extruder set up.

I tried a few of my pasta plates out, making some serviceable linguine before switching over to the fine meat grinding plate to create 1/4" solid tubes of dough, which I cut into 1" long pieces as they came out of the extruder.  After a bit of boiling, I drained and plated the gnocietti.

The sauce came out of a jar, though I did juice it up a bit with a decidedly non-Italian touch: a splash of Irish whiskey to bring out the tomato flavor.  Service included some grated Romano cheese, and a nice Petit Syrah (I've still enough congestion from my cold I didn't want to crack open an Italian wine, yet), accompanied by some rosemary sea salt bread.

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