Friday, December 31, 2010

Use Your Noodle

My husband and I just inherited this charmer below. Isn't she a beaut? Yes, it's the original pasta machine that has been in my husband's family for eons of years. His mother is 100 percent Italian. That means my Scandinavian version of spaghetti and meatballs doesn't quite cut it around here. If ya know what I mean!

So, we asked for pasta making tools this Christmas - and boy did we get them. I have always been a little intimidated by the idea of making my OWN noodles. I mean, what's wrong with the box of noodles you can buy at the grocery store for $1.49? Boil the water, dump 'em in, and 10 minutes later you've got a meal fit for a king. Right?? Well, sort of. Ladies and Gentleman, I gotta admit, homemade noodles are dreamy. The clouds will part and the angels will be a singin' when you eat these. I'm not kidding. And my husband approves. Amen.

We made our first batch of noodles the day after Christmas. And I don't think I'll go back to the boxed stuff. Ever. The process is easy. Trust me folks. And it's so worth the time.

We may just have a new "Day after Christmas" tradition brewing....

Homemade Noodles
Adapted from The Pasta Machine recipe booklet

Tools Needed:
Food Processor
Noodle Cutter
Pasta Machine

Ingredients Needed:
1.5 Cups All Purpose Unbleached Flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 Large eggs
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp olive oil

Add flour and salt to the food processor, pulse a couple times to gently mix. Next, with the food processor running, add the eggs, one at a time through the feeder tube. Then add the water and olive oil until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 2-5 minutes, adding water if it seems too dry or a little flour if it's too sticky. The dough will become smooth as it is kneaded.

Place the ball of dough in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let sit for about 20 minutes.

Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Pat each piece into a 4"x4" square and lightly dust with flour. Clamp the pasta machine onto the counter and set the roller to 0 or the widest setting. Pass the dough through the rollers three times, setting the roller to a thinner setting each time. And if you're picky, cut off the rough edges of the dough with the pasta cutter after each time. Finally, you will pass the dough through whichever cutter setting you'd like - fettuccine, spaghetti, etc., depending on your machine.

Once noodles are cut, add to a pot of salted boiling water and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes. Fresh noodles do not need long to cook. Drain pasta, add your favorite sauce, and enjoy!

Makes about 1lb of pasta.

A New Beginning

A New Beginning.

My husband and I sit down every year the end of December and write out our goals for the coming year. Instead of resolutions, we concentrate on moving forward, accomplishing tasks big and small that will give us a sense of fulfillment. A purpose for being here. For the past two years, "start food blog" has been on my list...and for the past two years it has repeatedly been carried over to the new list, followed by my laundry list of excuses as to why I did not get it started, "I didn't have time", "We just got a new puppy", "I don't have a good camera to take pictures", and on, and on.

So, 2011 is my year. A New Beginning. I have to do this. I spend so much of my life cooking, experimenting, entertaining, shopping, gifting, and planning that I need to share it. I am constantly thinking of food, and revel in all the things food does for us. Food brings us together. It nourishes us. It makes us happy. Food is love.

I hope you find my recipes and ideas useful, simple, but, most of all, fun. I look forward to sharing a little piece of my life with you right here on these pages.

Here's to 2011, A New Beginning, however you do it.