Homemade Pasta

Monday was really just a day of recovery for me – I wish I had more exciting adventures to share, but the majority of my day was low-key and involved work and class. When class ended in the late afternoon, I spent a couple of hours with my parents before heading to Derek’s parents’ house to watch Ayden for a couple of hours. We had the greatest time dancing and playing and I didn’t want to leave! I wasn’t ready for any serious food today, but I made a couscous dish for Derek that came together like this:

Quick Greek Couscous Bowl

Ingredients

1/3 cups pearl-sized couscous

1 can diced tomatoes

1/2 small white onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

4 slices deli turkey

1/2 teaspoon basil seasoning

1/2 teaspoon crushed black peppercorn

1/3 cup part-skim mozzarella

Directions

Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a slow boil over medium heat. Add in couscous and cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occassionally. In a separate pan, cook tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil and peppercorn over medium heat for 8 minutes. Next, add in chopped deli turkey and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add tomato sauce mixture to couscous, and top with mozzarella. Serve hot 🙂

couscous

After dinner and play time, Derek and I picked back up on the Runner’s World Running Streak with a 1 mile run. I wasn’t quite ready to start back my normal fitness routine, but didn’t want to get another day behind on the streak.. This run helped ease my way back into normalcy, and I hope to be back to 100% today!!

Now on to the good stuff….

I was spoiled rotten this past Christmas. My mom meant business when she was choosing my gifts, and she really hit a home run with the most thoughtful ideas ever. Everything she got me was unique and relevant to my current interests/passions – I hope I can become as good a gift-giver as she is!

pasta2

Anyways, one of my favorite gifts (of all time) is my pasta maker. As a proud Italian, foodie, and wannabe chef, I was embarrassed to my core that I had never attempted to make my own pasta. Cannoli, yes, I’d given that a try. But PASTA, the main food group of the motherland, I’d never tried…

I followed a recipe in a Williams-Sonoma Pasta cookbook that I had. Below is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour,
    plus more as needed
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Semolina flour for dusting

Directions:

Place the 2 1/4 cups flour in a mound on a work surface. Make a well in the center large enough to hold the beaten eggs and pour the eggs into the well. Using a fork, begin gradually incorporating some of the flour from the sides, taking care not to break the flour wall. When the eggs are no longer runny, you can stop worrying about the wall. Continue working in more flour until the dough is no longer wet.

Begin kneading the dough by hand, adding as much additional all-purpose flour as needed until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, 3 to 5 minutes. Scoop up any remaining flour and pass it through a sieve to remove any large particles. Set the sieved flour aside.

Dust baking sheets with semolina flour. Divide the dough in half. Keep one half on the work surface, covered with a kitchen towel to prevent it from drying. Set up your pasta machine alongside another work surface. Lightly flour the work surface with some of the reserved sieved flour. Using a rolling pin, flatten the other dough half into a rectangle thin enough to go through the rollers at the widest setting. Pass the dough through the rollers once, then lay the resulting ribbon down on the work surface and flour it lightly. Fold into thirds lengthwise to make a rectangle and flour both sides lightly. Flatten the dough with the rolling pin until it is thin enough to go through the rollers again. With one of the two open edges going first, pass the dough through the rollers nine more times at the widest setting; after each time, flour, fold and flatten the dough as described. After 10 trips through the wide rollers, the dough should be completely smooth and supple.

Now you are ready to thin the dough. Starting at the second-to-widest setting, pass the dough through the rollers repeatedly, setting the rollers one notch narrower each time. When the pasta ribbon gets unwieldy, cut it in half and continue rolling one part at a time until the dough reaches the desired thinness.

Arrange the finished pasta sheets on the prepared baking sheets and cover with kitchen towels to prevent drying. Repeat the entire process with the second half of dough. Cut the pasta by hand or machine as desired. Makes 1 lb. dough.

Obviously, you’ll have to cook the fresh pasta as well. Bring water to a boil, and cook anywhere between 2 and 7 minutes (shorter duration than boxed pasta), until the taste is to your liking. “The true test is taste, not time”. Fresh pasta tastes 1000x better than boxed pasta, I swear! Because the process is lengthy, I always make a huge batch and freeze some to reheat at a later time. Reheated fresh pasta is still better than boxed pasta 🙂

pasta 1

I hope you guys try out this recipe if you can and enjoy a delicious homemade Italian meal!
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