Sunday, February 5, 2012

No More Boxed Pasta

Poor Taste Tester.  He's not allowed to bring salsa, cookies, or any type of bottled sauce into the house. And that list keeps getting longer: now it's no more Worcesterchire sauce (made it), no pies (come on), and pasta (the subject of today's post).

Fresh pasta is just more delicious and satisfying than dried pasta. Once I got the process streamlined, I make it instead of dried pasta even when time is scarce. The fluffiness, the light feeling on your stomach when you're done, and even its flexibility appeals to me. Lasagna, fettucine, linguine, ravioli, and even angel hair is hard to eat from dried pasta once you've tried it fresh.

Now, don't get me wrong. It can seem intimidating. One of the first times I tried it, I was trying to make a birthday meal for TT and guests were coming. My mother helped, and we used a pricey new Kitchen Aid attachment which extruded the pasta. But instead of doing its job, it warmed up the pasta, pushing out a gooey and sticky mess that I ended up hurling against the wall in fury. Mom fed me wine.

Currently, I don't use extrusion, I just use the $29 countertop machine to roll to the desired thinness and cut it via an attachment. I think I got it at Sears. Go get you one. Be generous with the flour. Get a friend to help, it's fun. Both of you sip some wine and you roll it out while the other person peels apart the pieces stuck together and makes a big pile of floury goodness.

Today I've made 2 big balls of pasta, one herb-green and one plain, let it rest for an hour, and I'm rolling it all out and freezing it so that I will not have to settle for dried pasta when it's late and we're tired.The recipe is simple and you've seen it here before (clearly I've become a bit more optimistic since then, in that post I thought I could never do this right).

herb tagliatelle
Into ziplocks and into the freezer, ready for me when I'm ready for it. Each serving usually feeds 4 to 6 people, so you could portion it to individual servings.  Or just plan for guests who will be very impressed.

New Floors and Really, Truly Finished Remodel

After the busy holidays, January took off like a bullet. Whatever delicious cooking has happened, no documentation has occurred. Within January we have been to Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and NYC. Now it's already February and all I want to do is stay home and cook and garden, despite knowing the summer will murder anything I attempt to grow.

Taste Tester is upset that the final flooring hasn't debuted here. It's true, we worked our butts off getting it done over New Year's Eve, and the adventure should have been here. Between buying one floor and deciding instead on another, there was also the discovery of 3 years' worth of rotting water beneath the floor. It was so foul we had to mop the cement with ammonia and then again with bleach, but it still reeked.

Here's the results, though: hand scraped, engineered flooring that resists dog claws and clicks in without glue or nails. Fact is, I could take it with me if we sell. The room is big, open, and welcoming. Next project: kitchen tile plus a possible island.