Three foods deserve special mention on this blog. I’ve told you about the tortillas, but I wouldn’t want to make you think that I’d forgotten the other two. And believe me, I have not.
Coming in on my top three, could eat ‘em every day for the rest of my life and never get bored…pasta. Comfort food at its best.Versatile. And when it’s homemade? Elegant and awe-inspiring. I like it al dente, fresh, in a light tomato sauce, with olive oil and zucchini, with giant meatballs and smothered in sauce…I’ll take the traditional Italian fare or the showy American stuff…it all hits the spot to me.
FYI, I’m not ragging on an cultures pasta here. I just mean that from what I’ve witnessed and read, Italians do not tend to go overboard on pasta seasoning. Just enough sauce to lightly cover the pasta…the spring jacket of sauces…while Americans love to have extra sauce to sop up with crusty garlic bread…at least that’s how my mom used to serve spaghetti…Like I said, I tend to get cravings for both…
And here in China, pasta yes…imagining an old Nonna in a white apron taking little sips off a wooden spoon? Nope…so I’ve made pasta twice in the last week.
Unfortunately my camera died the first time, right when I’d gotten to the fun noodle shots, too. I was so disappointed (this is also why I haven’t posted in such a long time). And frustrated.
I love making pasta, too. Even without a pasta press, making tagliatelle or lasagna sheets is super easy. (If you dare venture away from these two shapes, it is at your own risk) And I kind of like the imperfection in cutting the pasta by hand. I kind of feel a connection to ‘Old World’ circa 1900 or something (except when I was rolling the dough out with a glass beer bottle).
But, I decided to take it up a notch this time and make ravioli. Now, warning: like I said, venture away from lasagna or tagliatelle and it is at your own risk. Honestly, I think I may have done lasagna had I had an oven…I think most of this would have been just as comforting (perhaps more: enter stringy strands of melted mozzarella!) and easily adapted to a short stint in the oven.
This recipe is perfect for anyone with a pasta roller. But it is also possible for the home cook with basic utensils and a special occasion, time, and stamina.
Also, calling all bloggers-pasta ideas wanted! I love pasta and fun sauce ideas! What’s your favorite way to serve pasta?
PASTA DOUGH INGREDIENTS
- 100 grams/ person
- 1 egg/100 grams
PASTA DOUGH DIRECTIONS
You mix the ingredients until the dough forms into a ball and knead until smooth-flour your surface and sprinkle in flour little by little if the dough is too sticky. Let rest for 10′ and then tear apart pieces of dough slightly larger than golf balls (if rolling by hand). Liberally flour the surface you are rolling onto and then get to work!
A finished pasta sheet should be thin. If you are doing this by hand, it will take muscles-so channel all of your daily frustrations and flatten that dough!
When you finish, you can either liberally flour an extra surface in your house (a coffee table, a corner of a table…) and let the sheets dry out for an hour…or a couple of days!
The most practical way is to hang them from a rod (you can also buy pasta drying racks-a new broom handle or a thick plastic hanger should do the trick though, unless you become obsessed with making fresh pasta of course-if you like slow food, this is a very definite possibility!
INGREDIENTS FOR PUMPKIN CURRY SAUCE:
- 2 cups pumpkin chunks, boiled
- 2 red chilis
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 TBS butter
- 3 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 cup cooking wine or dry white wine
- 1 Tbsn vinegar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- zest and juice from 1 lime
- 1 TBS corsely chopped green onion
- Garnish: a little corsely chopped green onion
DIRECTIONS PASTA SAUCE
-You can make this a day in advance! (hint, hint. nudge, nudge.)
-Blend all ingredients and then pour the resulting sauce into a pot. Bring to a simmer and let the alcohol from the wine evaporate!
-You can set this aside (in a tupperware if you’ve made this the night before, you go-getter, you!) until you are
Ingredients Ravioli Filling:
- 3 TBS oil
- 1 1/2 large purple onions
- 3 star anis
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
- 1 TBS chopped ginger
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 TBS butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup cubed cheese (smoked gouda)
- 10-12 mushrooms, chopped
DIRECTIONS FOR FILLING
Drizzle the oil into the frying pan you will use. Heat the pan and distribute the onions evenly in the pan. Add the salt and the star anis and give the onions a quick stir. Let them caramelize for 8 minutes and stir it again.
Lower the heat and stir the onions again. They should start browning at this point and you’ll need to keep a pretty close eye on the ingredients. Toss in the ginger and the cumin and stir again.
Five minutes later, deglaze the pan (and make those onions look like…well, caramel) using the vingegar and the butter
Three minutes later, add the chopped mushrooms the water and the green onions. When the mushrooms are fully cooked (and have shrunk in size), you can turn off the stove and let the filling cool off before adding the cubes of cheese (you don’t want them to melt, not yet anyway).
MAKING THE RAVIOLI
- glass of water
- mushroom mix
- pasta sheets
Make a fairly even rectangle out of your flatten pasta sheets.
Then evenly space about 2 tsp of ravioli mix evenly across.
Dip your finger into a glass of water and go around the four ‘edges’ of each ravioli. Lay another sheet down and press around the ravioli to closs. Cut the ravioli along its seam. And set asid onto some oiled plastic wrap.
Bring water to a boil and cook the ravioli until they float and are cooked through, 3-5 minutes.
drain, and then put back into the pot. Add enough sauce to lightly cover your ravioli.
Garnish with leftover mushroom and onion mix and green onions…Voila!
(Like I said, this one is a bit labor intensive-pasta isn’t usually this time-consuming and a future recipe that I post will prove this to any one of you who doubts me!)