An Italian Supper in Brooklyn

Please forgive the poor and incomplete photography! I cooked this meal a day or two before deciding to create this blog.

My good old pasta maker.

My good old pasta maker.

One thing I’m really looking forward to in 2013 is the weeklong yoga retreat I’ll be hosting with Summer Shirey in Umbria, Italy in October.  To start gearing up, I decided to make homemade pasta last Saturday for Summer, her husband, and my man.  I was relieved to learn that making pasta is like riding a bike… the last time I made it was as a girl with my mother back in the early 1990’s.

Using the same, old hand crank machine, I set out to make papadelle.

Basic homemade pasta is surprising easy to make.

You need sll-purpose or superfine flour, egg, olive oil, and salt.

Needing a little guidance, I worked off the basic fresh egg pasta recipe featured in Ron & Colleen Suhanosky’s lovely book Pasta Sfoglia.

Get the exact recipe here: http://www.globalgourmet.com/food/cookbook/2009/pasta-sfoglia/fresh-egg-pasta.html#axzz2HGSsixjw

I modified with a little under 3 cups organic flour ($1.75), 4 organic jumbo eggs ($1.25) (bought them out of necessity – these things were huge! I’m skeptical as to whether or not they were really organic), and regular flour for dusting rather than rice flour (if I had rice flour, I would have used it).

a poor photo of what was a pretty lovely dinner

a poor photo of what was a pretty lovely dinner

I also did my mixing by hand.  To do so shape the flour into a well and crack the eggs right into that.  Add the olive oil and salt and mix until well incorporated.  Turn onto a floured surface and knead until all the ingredients are integrated.

Rolling out the pasta is great fun.  Please follow the instructions from the Pasta Sfoglia recipe.

Once you cut the papadelle into strips, make sure you either hang it up on a drying rack or lay it out on a baking sheet sprinkled with plenty of cornmeal.  Due to space restrictions and lack of drying rack, I layered the pasta on cornmeal-lined sheets of parchment.

Once it’s time, these delicious strips of pasta need only 2 minutes to cook. Be sure to reserve some of the hot pasta water to mix in with the cooked pasta so it doesn’t stick together.  Reference the Pasta Sfoglia recipe for further details.

Of course, we had more than just homemade pasta!

As a first course, I made a simple baby arugala ($4.00) salad with roasted shitake mushrooms ($7.00), shaved parmesan ($1.00), and a lemon ($0.75) olive oil dressing (0.25) (thank you Mario Batali for the inspiration!).

For the lemony dressing:

  • Juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

As always, dress the salad right before you serve it.

To go with the papadelle, I made a Bolognese sauce. 

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 lbs Organic beef ($10)
  • 1 Medium onion ($0.30), diced
  • 1-2 Garlic cloves ($0.05), minced
  • 2 Organic carrots (~$0.40), diced
  • 1-2 Stalks of organic celery (~0.50), diced
  • 3 Fresh plum tomatoes (~$2.00), diced
  • 1 28oz Can of tomatoes ($3.00)
  • 1 14.5oz Can of tomatoes ($2.00)
  • 1 cup of red wine ($4.00)
  • Olive oil ($0.15)
  • Dried Oregano
  • Fresh basil and/or Italian parsley
  • Salt & pepper

Here’s how to make it:

  • In a large skillet, brown your beef, seasoning with a little salt and pepper.  Drain fat and put aside.
  • In a large saucepan (I prefer using my enamel Dutch oven) heat 1-2 tablespoons or so of olive oil over a medium flame, add in onion and garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes
  • Add the carrot and celery and cook until tender (about 3-4 minutes)
  • Add the browned meat
  • Pour in red wine and reduce. It should smell great!!
  • Add diced tomatoes and sauté for a couple minutes
  • Throw in canned tomatoes (if you’re using whole ones, make sure you crush or chop ‘em before!)
  • Add the dried oregano, salt, and pepper and let this dish simmer for at least 40 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Serve it up with your homemade pasta and freshly grated parmesan

Enjoy! We were very fortunate that Summer and Boyd brought delicious wines paired with the menu!

Total price: about $36

What you get: A hearty dinner for 4.  Leftovers for 2 for 2 days.

 

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