Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Conquering the Kitchen

Fresh from the tangine success I decided it was time to tackle my kitchen. Seriously, I've got way to long to live at this place to allow for horribly remodeled monstrosity get the better of me! I'm a really good cook dammit! Plus, I'm a continually cash-poor cook, so Saturday night I decided to haul out the pasta maker. The machine, I'm sure was a fortune, but was a wedding gift (thank you best sister in law Jill!!) Once you've got a machine, though, a really good fresh pasta costs pennies! And, it's relatively healthy.
So, I started out with a basic recipe from my Betty Crocker cookbook, which I think this was probably the first time that I have ever cracked that sucker open since Stacy gave it to me ages ago. So, first - mix the pasta in a bowl. I did not and it made a mess and stuck like glue to the ugly counter tops. Secondly, take off your rings because the dough will also stick like glue to those and become very difficult to remove, especially if you have nothing to clean them with. Alright. Now, you're more prepared than I was.
I measured out a cup of flour and made a little well into which I cracked one egg. (We got the most amazing eggs last weekend from the Mississippi Market up on Dale and Selby. That is so my new favorite store. These things were amazing.)

So, I slowly mixed that together to form a dough. Then I dusted the counter top, realizing my error and started to knead it. It was really sticky, so I kept adding flour. Then I mixed in some Ancho powder, which didn't add any heat, but made it a pretty color.

(Note the gluey, club fingers. Yeah, that's not coming off without a fight.)

The next step was to slowly feed it through the rolling mechanism of the pasta machine at it's widest setting. It kept sticking and tearing and I couldn't figure out the right speed until I realized that I should probably FLOUR the machine. Once we learned that, things went smoothly. Slowly Matt ran it through getting the dough thinner and thinner.

We had to pull the sliding cutting board out to latch the stupid thing to something because all of the counter tops in the kitchen are oddly fat, which also makes them about half an inch too tall for me. But I wasn't letting anything deter me now!

We fed the dough through the fettuccine attachment, boiled for about a couple of minutes until al dente and served with an Arrabiata sauce that I made - successfully copying and improving the Amore Victoria recipe! I'll never miss that place again... Until I get a craving for tortellini alla pana. All told the whole shebang probably cost about $2 a serving Yummy!

Arriabiata Sauce

1 diced large shallot

1Tablespoon chopped garlic

1 large can of Italian diced tomatoes with basil, drained

2 chopped pepperioncini peppers

3 Tablespoons chopped olives

1 teaspoon capers

1 teaspoon chili flakes

Splash of balsamic vinegar

Saute the shallot in a little olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and saute a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and allow to reduce for a couple of minutes until thicker. Serve over homemade pasta and top with a little bit of fresh grated Parmesan cheese. Inhale bowl and forget to take final product photo!


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