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Posted by on Aug 31, 2011 in Our Favorites, Store-bought Remix, Try Something New | 0 comments

Epic Pasta Evening

Sadly, I didn’t jump at the chance to make pasta at home after learning how in class. Finally, about a month or so ago, I took the plunge, and the results were fantastic. Thanks to the lady on my team that rolled all of her pasta by hand, I successfully did this at home without any special tools.

I made marinara sauce from scratch and homemade meatballs to pair with the fettuccine and a fresh tomato sauce and pesto to pair with the Gorgonzola-filled tortellini.

Basic Pasta Dough

3 large eggs, beaten
1 T olive oil
2 cups AP flour, plus LOTS to roll out dough
1 t kosher salt or 1/2 t fine salt

In food processor, pulse eggs and oil to combine. Mix flour and salt together in a bowl, and add dry mixture through the feed while processor runs until a ball forms. If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of warm water and process briefly. If the dough is too sticky, remove it from processor and knead with additional flour. Depending on where you live and the weather…this process can yield different results. You’ll have to assess the “personality” of your dough each time you make it.

Cover dough with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.

Cut the dough into quarters. Remove 1 quarter and keep remaining 3 wrapped tightly. I used about 1/2 of the pasta for fettuccine and 1/2 for tortellini. Make sure your work surface and roller are thoroughly floured. Flatten the piece you are working with and fold into thirds. Flatten again. Repeat folding and flattening 6-8 times. Then roll to a thickness that you can see your hand through. It helps to work on a non-stick surface like a Silpat mat. Let rolled out piece rest for 5 minutes to dry out. For fettuccine, roll up dough and cut along the end to achieve thin strips. Store cut pasta on a baking sheet covered with plastic wrap with a coating of flour. To cook fettuccine, add to a pot of rapidly boiling, salted water. Cook 2-3 minutes. Tip: Remove cooked pasta with a small handheld strainer, tongs, or a slotted spoon and use cooking water for other servings of pasta. For tortellini, see instructions below.

Recipe from Viking Cooking School.

Tortellini Filling

1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup + 2 T Gorgonzola cheese
2 T chopped parsley (I used 1 T dried Italian seasoning)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Pepper (cheese is salty so be careful adding salt)

Mix together and chill until needed. To fill pasta, roll out thinly and cut with a circle cutter. Pipe filling with a Ziplock bag with a corner cut off, a pastry bag, or measure with a 1/2 teaspoon. Wet your fingertip and moisten half of the pasta round’s edge. Fold over and press down the seam. Bring together two folded corners and pinch together. Press back edge opposite of pinch to form the Bishop’s hat. Cover with plastic wrap on a baking sheet coated in flour until ready to cook. Cook in salted, boiling water until all tortellini float to the top. Coat with your sauce of choice. I used a combo of pesto and fresh tomato sauce.

Pesto

2 cups basil, packed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/c cup olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts (I used walnuts. They are cheaper and easier to find.)
3 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper

In food processor, add nuts. Pulse. Add basil. Pulse. Add garlic. Pulse.
Slowly add oil with processor on. Scrape down sides as you go. Add cheese and S&P.
Scrape from processor into bowl with air-tight lid. Flatten out the top of the pesto with the back of a spoon. Add a thin coating of olive oil to the top to keep the air away from the basil (it will darken).

Fresh Tomato Sauce (Tomato Concasse)

1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 t balsamic vinegar
1 t fresh basil, minced
2 t olive oil
Salt and pepper

Combine ingredients, and set aside at room temp for flavors to meld. Sauce is served at room temp (not hot or cold).

Recipe from Viking Cooking School.

Meatballs

8 oz. ground beef
8 oz. Italian sausage
1 egg, beaten
3 T red wine
2 T tomato paste
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 T parsley
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1 t marjoram
1/2 t basil

Beat egg and add tomato paste and wine. Set aside.

Mix meat and dry ingredients. Use your hands! Add in wet ingredients mixture and mix well. Shape into balls and place on a greased baking sheet.

Notes: I mixed all the ingredients at the same time. It didn’t hurt anything. I also double the recipe (1# of each meat and roughly double seasonings). I use a tablespoon disher to measure out the balls, then roll into a ball with my hands. Just don’t roll them too tightly.

Bake for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Then, flip the balls over and cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, and place in prepared sauce (I use a triple recipe of sauce for a double batch of meatballs). Cook for at least 30 minutes in sauce. Use a thermometer to ensure than inside temp reads 160 degrees before serving.

Mr. J’s plate – Fettuccine with meatballs

Image at top is my plate: Gorgonzola-filled tortellini with pesto and tomato concasse. Wine is from Mr. J’s trip to San Diego last year.

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