It feels so good to be posting a recipe! Its been too long!
Recently I discovered a wonderful website called Scribd. It’s basically Netflix for books and I am totally in love with it. Its like having an entire library at my fingertips. This month I’ve been reading this wonderful book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It documents the year she spent studying happiness and implementing different ideas to make her life more enjoyable on a day to day basis.
One of the tips she offers is to be sure to spend some of your spare time doing things that you find enjoyable. Even if no one else likes it, or people think its stupid or a waste of time. If it makes you happy (and doesn’t harm anyone) then do it! This seems obvious right? Well, as you busy Mom’s out there know, most of our free time is spent doing things that make other people happy. This inevitably leads to grumpy Moms, which leads to grumpy kids. Not a good thing.
So this year I’m going to try to spend an hour or two each week doing something 100% for myself. This week I tackled pasta. I have always wanted to try making fresh pasta, but it seemed like such a useless skill considering how many different kinds of pasta I can pick up at the store for $1.00. Yesterday while Gavin was napping I made pasta just for the fun of it and I discovered 2 things.
1. I enjoyed every part of the experience, even the aching arms I had from rolling out all the dough by hand.
2. Homemade pasta is GREAT! Chewy and hearty, with a delicate egg flavor. Even my daughter, who normally turns her nose up at anything new, loved it. Plus it was very simple to freeze up the pasta I didn’t cook for another day. All it cost me was three eggs, some flour and about 90 minutes of free time.
I used this recipe from The Kitchen. Next time I plan to try adding pureed herbs and veggies to make flavored pasta and I plan to borrow a pasta maker. Rolling out the dough was tough work!
A Couple Tips When Making Pasta
Be generous when sprinkling the flour. It will make the dough much easier to work with. Just don’t go overboard. A thin coating every few minutes will be fine.
To put less stress on sore wrists try rolling the pin with your forearms. I have weak wrists from a previous career as a massage therapist. I use a long bakers pin, not the classic kind with the handles, but one that looks more like a heavy dowel.
Use an old tea ball to sprinkle the flour. You know, the ones with the handle that leak tea leaves all the time. It’s the perfect mini sifter.
Grab a friend to help. Having a spare set of hands around is helpful especially if you are using a hand crank pasta maker.
Homemade Pasta (without a pasta machine)
Feeds 4-6 people
- 2 cups flour, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
1. Make the Dough: Using a large bowl add the flour and salt and stir well. Make a hole in the center of the flour and crack the three eggs into it. Next, whisk the eggs with a fork and slowly begin to combine flour from the sides and bottom of the bowl. Soon your eggs will be stringy, keep gradually incorporating flour until a soft dough forms. When the dough looks dry begin kneading the flour in with your hand. When all the flour is incorporated scrape the dough out onto a well floured counter top. (I use a large pizza peel)
2. Knead and Rest: Knead the dough adding a little flour whenever it becomes a little sticky. After about 10 minutes or so the dough will form a soft ball and when sliced you will not see any air bubbles. Place the dough in an ungreased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rest for 30-40 minutes.
3. Rolling out the Dough: Dust a baking sheet with flour and scrape the dough out onto it. Cut into four pieces. Cover all dough with plastic wrap while you roll out and cut each piece. Flatten one piece of dough with your hand and roll it as flat as you can with a well floured rolling pin. Fold into thirds. Turn and roll as thin as you can. Do this 10 or so times for each ball of dough.
4. Cut the dough by rolling one sheet out as thin as you can. Cut into strips with a knife or pizza cutter. You can also roll the sheet up and slice equal slices off and unroll them into noodles. I used a herb slicer that my little brother gave me for x-mas a few years ago. It sucks at cutting herbs, but it makes beautiful noodles. Toss the noodles in some flour and coil into a little nest. Cover any dough or noodles you are not working on with a layer of plastic wrap or a towel.
5. Cook in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Drain and serve with sauce.
Freeze any extra noodles by coiling them into nests on a cookie sheet and freeze. When frozen transfer to a freezer safe ziptop bag.
This afternoon we are hoping on a plane to So Cal for my stepfather’s memorial. Wish us luck on our trip. It’s been a long time since my last flight and I’m a little nervous!
See what I was cooking up this week in previous years.
Jan 2012: Perfect Blueberry Muffins
Jan 2011: Chocolate Truffle Cake