Pasta Worthy of a Cafe in Italy – Fresh Pasta with Tomatoes and Garlic
December 27, 2010 § 5 Comments
I have only been to Italy once and it was to the very small coastal city Trieste – a beautiful little port city with wonderful people. It was five plus years ago but I can still remember the extreme pleasure I felt sitting in an outdoor cafe, enjoying a very simple bowl of home-made pasta and of course, a glass of the lovely table wine. I’ve wanted a pasta roller for some time now so that I could create my very own delicate strips of carb goodness. I think I only mentioned this once or twice before Christmas, not even on purpose, but my wonderful husband figured it out and I was delighted to find it under the tree at Christmas. One of my best friends is home for the Christmas holiday and I wanted to invite her and her husband over to see our new home. I wasn’t sure what to serve and decided, it was a good a time as any to give the brand new pasta roller a shot.
I looked online for some “hand-made pasta” recipes but was actually having a hard time finding any – they all were in grams and I don’t have a scale. Luckily, my friend happened to attend a culinary class in none other than Italy so she guided me through the process and it was quite easy. We decided on a 2:1 ratio of flour to egg with a dash of water. First fill the bowl with flour, make a well in the middle, add the egg(s), and mix the center first slowly making the circle larger to incorporate the surrounding flour. Add water or flour as needed – the dough will eventually stop sticking and that’s the right consistency. We kneaded the dough a bit, divided up into manageable pieces, and rolled out.
I have to admit, the pasta roller was a little daunting at first. It has two parts – the roller and the cutter. First you roll the doll through several times, tightening the space between the rollers until you reach the desired width. My pasta roller has settings from 0-9, 9 being the smallest width. For this round, we stopped on 4 which produced a pretty hearty pasta. I enjoyed it but also want to try the higher settings for a more delicate texture. After you get the dough to the desired width, you can roll through cutters for either fettuccini or spaghetti. I thought once cooked the pasta wouldn’t grow too much since it was fresh but it actually did grow quite a bit.
My friend showed me how to make a delicious sauce she learned to prepare in Italy. We sautéed about 4 cloves of sliced garlic in some extra virgin olive oil to which we added grape tomatoes which had been cut in half. To season, we added some salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and a few dashes of Italian seasoning since I didn’t have any fresh basil on hand. We tossed the pasta in and let it absorb the delicious sauce. To serve, we topped with shaved parmesan. That was it! Simple and delicious.
It wasn’t as fast as throwing in a box of pasta, but it was a lot of fun and made a great memory. I look forward to creating many more delicious home-made pastas.
Update: See how I made a delicious home-made pasta with shrimp and truffle butter.