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I'm never bored. If I'm not knitting or spinning, I'm gardening or reading. Always up to something!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Homemade Pasta and Jar Sauce (oh, marone!)

I finally dug it out from the back of the kitchen cabinet. The idea of making pasta and a respectable sauce seemed daunting. I had nothing but Italian style turkey sausage and a jar of emergency sauce in the house. With only a couple of boxes of elbow macaroni in the house on this rainy day, I was left to my own devices for a pasta dinner. With a tendency to make a big mess of the kitchen when the creative juices start flowing, I considered the least messy pasta dough-making method. After googling bread machine pasta recipes and watching a couple of youtube videos, I was armed with information and enough confidence to begin the project.
Flour (2 1/4 cups) and 4 eggs.  Period. The headless chef in the video used a food processor. Too messy. I'd have to drag it out, rinse it off, assemble it, wash it.  Nah...But the bread machine was clean and ready to go. Nothing to rinse. One little bucket to wipe out when the dough was finished. No-brainer. I put the flour into the bucket of the bread machine, then added the eggs, set it for dough and let it rip. When I opened the little door to check, it looked a bit like cookie dough so I added another tablespoon of flour, which was rapidly absorbed. So I added another. When the machine stopped and I opened the little door, it slightly smelled like a hot, over-worked motor. Maybe it always smells that way...I never open the door before it smells like fresh-baked bread.
I lightly floured my pastry cloth and set up the pasta machine while the dough rested under a mixing bowl. There are even differing opinions about resting the dough. Plastic wrap or mixing bowl? How can dough rest if it can't breathe??
Now, you never wash the pasta machine but it's fresh from the factory with machine oil and metal filings on the gears - you must run lots of dough through the machine to clean it. So, okay. That took time and lots of dough. But there was still plenty for the two of us. You need a place for all that fettuccine to hang out while it's waiting for you to finish all that cranking. The solution is will be a collapsible pasta drying rack. Those Italians think of everything. Even with lowly sauce from the jar, my fresh pasta was food of the gods. Two minutes in very salty water (pasta cooking water should be like sea water) and it was light, tender and exquisitely delicious.