Jeanne Eats World

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Fresh pasta fun

Posted by Jeanne on March 27, 2010

Last Friday night, we ate at Lidia’s – we were down in Kansas City for my friend Janelle’s birthday and she loves that place.  With good reason – the food is amazing, the service is great, the wine list is extensive and contains a ton of bottles for only $28, etc.

Janelle always gets the pasta trio when we are there – you get a selection of three pastas, refilled as many times as you want.  The trio that night was the following:

  • Spinach linguine with shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce;
  • Ravioli with chicken and mushroom filling in a butter/thyme sauce; and
  • Rigatoni (I think? Tubes, not penne…) with a basil/walnut pesto.

I decided that this would be Fresh Pasta Weekend since I finally have a bit of free time, and last night I set out to make versions of the first two.  My actual stated menu is as follows:

  • Spinach linguine with shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce; and
  • Lemon ravioli with mushroom/ricotta filling.

I used the pasta recipe from Ratio as my base – it calls for 9 oz. of flour plus 6 oz. of eggs.  I figured I would get started with that and then add the flavoring ingredients and adjust from there.

Oh kitchen scale, how do I love thee?  Note the total lack of flour covering every surface in the entire kitchen.  That part came later.

The dough came together well until I ran into a snag.  If you want to make spinach pasta, one of the first things you should do is make sure you have spinach.  We didn’t have any spinach.  D’oh.  I decided to make a broccoli pasta instead.

I thawed out some frozen broccoli in the microwave while the pasta was mixing, added about 0.5 cup of broccoli to the blender, and tried to turn it into a puree.  The second thing you should know is that a blender doesn’t work very well without a lot of liquid in it.  Should have used the food processor…

Got the broccoli chopped up with the addition of some olive oil and water, and added it to the pasta dough.  Then added probably a full cup of flour to account for the extra liquid – we have so much broccoli pasta left today!  Oh well.  It didn’t turn out very green but the taste and texture were fine.

When I set that dough aside to rest, I put together the lemon pasta.  Far less eventful, but I should have used quite a bit more lemon zest because you couldn’t really taste the lemon.  I sauteed about a cup of mushrooms in butter and seasoned with salt & pepper, then ran them through the food processor with a cup of drained cottage cheese (I know, but dude – it totally works!  And we didn’t have any ricotta.) until smooth.

Rolling, rolling, rolling...

The KitchenAid pasta roller attachment made this all possible – I would never have tried to do homemade pasta by myself with the hand roller.  It’s just too hard to use without another set of hands.

Ravioli on parade – we ended up freezing all but three of the ravioli (had to taste a couple) because it was getting so late and there was so much broccoli pasta.  We also have enough broccoli pasta dough left to make another full meal.  I’m going to use that dough to make lasagne bolognese this weekend – should be fun.

Cutting the pasta – I am such a little kid, but when the sheet of pasta went through the machine and came out sliced-up noodles the other side I was so excited.  Cooking is sometimes like magic – I really kind of expected it to turn out a blob of unusable dough or to fall apart.

But it didn’t!  I made noodles in my own kitchen!  Eeeee.

See those?  I made them!  They were eggs and flour when I started!  I love cooking.

The sauce:

3 cloves garlic, finely minced

0.5 large onion, finely diced

1 TB olive oil

1 sprig of fresh oregano

5 smallish tomatoes, seeded (but not peeled) and roughly chopped

2 cans organic diced tomatoes, drained

Salt & pepper

Red pepper flakes

0.5 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

Warm olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and onion and sweat for a minute or two, stirring often so the garlic does not scorch.  (If the garlic burns, it will make the whole sauce taste like yuck.  Toss and start over if this happens.)

Add tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper, and a good pinch of red pepper flakes.  Stir to combine and simmer as long as you want.  I ended up simmering this one for about 45 minutes – I assembled it while the pasta dough was resting and just left it going while I rolled out the pasta.

About five minutes before everything else is done, add the shrimp.  Cook two to three minutes, until shrimp are just cooked through, stirring often.  Don’t overcook the shrimp.

Toss over pasta and eat as soon as possible.

Note on cooking fresh pasta – this stuff cooks FAST.  We had a pot of salted boiling water going and each batch of pasta cooked in about 2.5 to 3 minutes – we did three batches of the broccoli noodles so as not to crowd the pot.

So good.  Sooooo good – almost worth not eating until 9 pm.

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3 Responses to “Fresh pasta fun”

  1. Linda Gutschmidt said

    Now I know why my brother, Mike, likes eating at your house. You make things look so easy. Makes me think I could make my own pasta. I’d come visit him if I knew I could get a cooking lesson from you…then maybe he’d come visit me again. lol Really enjoy your site. Glad he told me about it.

  2. Janelle Niebuhr said

    So excited you figured out how to make it! Looks great!

    BTW: It was Rigantoni!

  3. Naomi said

    AWESOME! (I totally need that attachment.)

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