Thursday, April 26, 2012

Let's End this Damn Hiatus

It's been almost a year to the day since my last post and that's just bullsh*t no?  My bad.

During my 372 day hiatus, I have been blessed with a beautiful baby girl, Grace Emily Rose who is now a whopping six months old.  Where does the time go?  Sure, being a new mom is tiring, consuming, frustrating, and truly wonderful.

But is that much of an excuse not to be sharing all the fabulous new recipes I've been trying?  No.  No, it isn't.  For shame.  My deepest apologies.

Now on to the exciting new things I've been doing.  Maternity leave has left me with a great deal of time to try new recipes, scour the never-ending DIY and crafty tutorials, and try my hand at, well, pretty much anything.  I've started baking my own bread because it just plain tastes better.  So does handmade pasta if you were wondering.  I woke up one morning and decided I just had enough of that ugly, old chair so I recovered it.  Gracie needed some art for her room so I painted her a canvas.  I thought it would be a good idea to teach myself to sew.  And I just inherited a very impressive collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks.  If you didn't know better, you might think I was becoming one of those meth-mommies.  But no.  No, I have the time to be creative and I'm not going to let that go to waste!

So where should I begin?  Let's start with pasta.

Who doesn't love soft, luscious, silky noodles?  You don't find an ooey, gooey bowl of mac n' cheese comforting?  Liar.  Everyone enjoys a delicious plate of ravioli.  Now imagine all of those... but better.  Fresh pasta will, quite literally, revolutionize your life.  My fabulous husband, Tim, did his research and gave me the Imperia Pasta Maker (apparently the "Rolls Royce of pasta machines") for Christmas.  I have heard, and believe, that the KitchenAid pasta attachment is pretty swell.  But there's something romantic about kneading the dough, rolling it through the machine by hand, and hanging them to dry.  Even with a two month old daughter, it's worth making the time to whip some pasta together.  Yes, I said whip it together.  It really doesn't take that long.

You need:
2 cups of flour (preferably "00" flour, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't use all-purpouse flour and cake flour quite successfully)
3 eggs

What you need to do:

Pour flour onto a flat surface and make a well in the middle.  Crack your eggs into the well and whisk gently to incorporate the flour.  

My tried and true recipe is from Jamie's Italy cookbook.

Let your pasta rest for half an hour in the fridge.  Then, roll away.
Imperia offers great and simple rolling instructions.
We hung these pasta sheets as we were figuring out how to cut noodles.  As we've made our fair share of fresh pasta, we realize this isn't such a good idea since the rack really gets its job done and dries the pasta out quite quickly.  I recommend rolling the sheets flat, cutting them into your desired shape, and then hanging them to dry.

The final preparations are stupid easy.  If you can boil water, you can make pasta.  Make sure to liberally salt your water and reserve some pasta water to loosen your favorite sauce.  The noodles cook in mere minutes.  And I mean like 2-3 minutes, not 8-12 minutes.  Smother in a yummy sauce and enjoy!

Fresh tagliatelle carbonara... mmmmm bliss in a bowl

Tomorrow, I shall share my adventures in bread baking.  I promise.

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