Feeling a bit amorous this weekend, I thought to try out a few recipes inspired by the country of love, Italy. Or is it France that’s the country of love? I don’t know, we Americans generally equate anything Western European to that of romance. Except for Germany, of course. I’m not entirely sure why, but I think it’s the accent.
While I may not know which country best represents love, I sure as heck know that my wrists are extremely sore. Why? Well, for that question I have only one answer: KNEADING.
I thoroughly enjoy pastas and breads. You could say carbs are the apple of my eye, my sweetheart, and quite literally, the bread to my butter. Every time I get the smart idea to make it from scratch, I start out extremely ambitious and end with the vow that I will never again do it because of the amount of effort I have to exert.
But like any excellent lover (and I mean excellent), it beckoned me. It fed me promises that momentarily lapsed my judgment, telling me that this time things will be different, and somehow made me to forget how much those seductive wheat-filled hand-breakers have hurt me so. And much like any fool who’s ever been in love, I trusted these empty words and fell for Carb’s old tricks. Hook, line, and sinker.
I’d like to say I learned my lesson this time, but in every bit of honesty I probably haven’t. I mean, have you HAD homemade bread?
For this post I’m going to focus completely on the pasta dishes made and share with you the other delectable treats on ensuing posts throughout the week.
To start our Italian marathon, I made my very first batch of farfalle pasta ever, which was a momentous occasion for this pasta-loving man. While a lot of people call this type of pasta “bow tie” pasta, the word farfalle actually means butterfly in Italian. Neither fancy neck wear nor mutant caterpillars bring about an appetite in me, so I just call it farfalle.
The homemade farfalle was tossed it into a light but satisfying — and ultra Italian — pasta pomodoro that is comprised of Roma tomatoes, garlic, white wine, basil Parmesan cheese, and other tasties.
The best part is that this dish is served with all fresh, organic produce filled with nutrients and essential vitamins, and it is incredibly easy and quick to make. If you’re not interested in having sore hands, you can open up a box of farfalle from the supermarket. I know not everyone has the time or energy to make their own pasta from scratch, but I promise nobody will judge you, you big, fat cheater.
Next up on the list was spinach pasta, which was made the exact same way as I had made the original pasta, only this time *SPOILER ALERT* I added spinach. Surprise!
With this pasta I added used a very basic chunky tomato basil sauce and threw in the remaining spinach I had on hand. Like most comfort food, it was simple and satisfying on various levels.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned my sore hands yet, but they very, very sore. And raw. And achy. Although I’m most assuredly going to find out I have carpal tunnel any day now, I have to say that the entire pasta-making experience was an overall enjoyable one. So enjoyable, I may actually make it again sometime not so very soon! Carbs, you may not be perfect, but I’m glad to see that you’re not quite as heinous as I’d remembered.
So dear reader, if you see me in the grocery store shopping for more pasta-based ingredients, please feel free to wave and I too will lift my writhing, wrinkled club of a hand up and bid you a hello. Who knows, maybe I’ll invite you over for some homemade pasta!
But don’t count on it.
Time: 45 minutes
- 2 cups Roma tomatoes, diced
- 4 cloves fresh garlic, diced
- 4 green onions, diced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 4 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb box or homemade noodles (farfalle, orecchiette or angel hair work best)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Boil noodles in a large pot of salted water with 4 tbsp of olive oil, drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a deep skillet over high heat and add garlic until slightly brown and aromatic. Reduce heat to medium-high and add diced tomatoes, wine, stock and green onions and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the tomatoes have given off their juice.
- Add basil and noodles to the skillet and toss until well-mixed, allow to simmer on medium heat for five minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Time: 30 minutes
- 3 cups of flour to start with
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp of salt
- Pour flour into a mound on a clean work surface and make a well in the flour with your fingers. Be sure to the walls of the well are very high, and about 1/2 thick (refer to above photo).
- Crack open two eggs and pour into the well and add salt to eggs. Whisk the eggs together with a fork until well mixed, minding not to break the walls as you want the egg enclosed until thick enough to mix with the rest of the flour. Continue to whisk while adding a bit of flour from the top of the walls until the eggs become thickened.
- Remove excess flour leaving only enough flour to keep the walls sturdy and the eggs in their confinement.
- With the remaining flour, mix in the egg with your hands until the dough is completely mixed and dry enough to roll out, but not so dry that it is crumbly and difficult to work with.
- Dust the counter with flour and use your hands to knead the dough by pushing the flour down with your fists and fold over. Continue doing this for 5 minutes until the dough becomes difficult to knead.
- Re-dust the counter and begin to roll out with the rolling pin. You will notice that when rolling the dough out, it will expand and contract. This process will take about 10 minutes as it will take the dough about this much time to lose its elasticity and roll out to paper thinness.
- Once the dough has been rolled, you can cut out the dough in whatever shape you please. Place pasta in rapidly boiling, salted water and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.