Sunday, 18 August 2013

Passa la Pasta

Garganelli Fatti in Casa
Hand Made Garganelli Pasta

"Passa la pasta", or "pass me the pasta"- is what you would be hearing from anyone sitting at a table set for supper with such wonderful home made fare as these... I have to say that they were pretty damned good considering they were a first attempt!

I had received a pasta machine from my mother for Christmas and had bought myself one of those little wooden blocks for rolling out gnocchi and cavatelli... but not got around to using them yet! Well today was a dull and grey Sunday and the time had come! I decided to make my first home made pasta!

The dough is a simple affair of 1 egg to each 100g of flour. Which is enough for 1 portion. But I made enough for 2 ;-) and yes, the other portion of dough is frozen and saved for another time... I did not eat it all! Make a well of the flour, crack the eggs into the middle, and pinch them, then the flour, until they become to come together. Add a pinch of salt and keep pulling the flour from the "walls" of your well into the egg and soon enough it will form a smooth, firm dough. Work the dough with the heel of your hand, folding it over, pressing down, revolving and repeating for a good 5-10 minutes, then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour to give the flour a chance to rest.

Once the dough was ready, I rolled it out with a rolling pin until it was flat enough to feed into my pasta making machine and then used the machine to get it down nice and thin- I needed to put the pasta through 3 times to do this. Once the pasta was nice and thin, I cut it into squares of around 1.5" and then wrapped them around the handle of a wooden spoon at a 45° angle. I then rolled the spoon over my little ridged wooded block and pressed the pasta into shape- so I had ridges in the middle and the outer edges were smooth- lovely! Of course, if you don't have one of these wooden blocks, you can always make the tubes without and have flat, smooth pasta which is also lovely. At the end of the day... all pasta is good pasta!

I sprinkled the finished pasta tubes with flour to prevent them from sticking to each other and set them to one side to dry for at least 30 minutes... which gave me time to make this quick tomato, ground meat and thyme sauce...

I started the sauce by getting a handful of ground beef (left over from the mpanatigghi of course) sizzling in a dry frying pan, I added a little finely chopped carrot, onion, celery and garlic and stirred these in well. I seasoned with salt and pepper, added a splash of little splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sugar and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. 

Whilst the tomato paste sizzled away, I diced-up a regular sized roma tomato and added it to the pan along with just enough water to get the tomato paste dissolved down and smooth. I added 3-4 sprigs of thyme, a couple of bay leaves, a couple of basil leaves and let it simmer away for 2-3 minutes.

By now I was ready to boil my pasta- which being fresh, took only 2-3 minutes to cook and come floating to the surface in the pot. As soon as it was done, I drained it off, but not too thoroughly and added it to the tomato sauce. I added a drizzle of olive oil at the end and then carefully tossed it together to get everything nicely coated... and after 1-2 minutes it was absolutely perfect and ready to serve!

As usual, coarsely ground black pepper and grated Parmesan were a must- as was the whole dish! Quick and easy at the end, it made up for the little extra work and time it took to make the pasta... and the reward was... well... amazingly wonderful and delicious! You can see the pictures... and well, need I say more? Other than Buon Appetito!?!

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