Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pasta. Show all posts

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September Daring Cooks' Challenge - Gnocchi

Oh my gosh, I almost missed a Daring Cooks' Challenge.

That has never happened before.

But all of a sudden, I looked at the date and went OH NO! Where in the world is the time going? How in the world are we in the middle of September already?  And this month's challenge is a good one!

Todd, who is The Daring Kitchen’s AWESOME webmaster and an amazing cook, is our September Daring Cooks’ host! Todd challenged us to make light and fluffy potato Gnocchi and encouraged us to flavor the lil pillows of goodness and go wild with a sauce to top them with!

I love gnocchi. I have made it a few times before, and have even blogged about it a few times... here and here.  So when I saw that we were going to make it again this month, I was excited!

I started thinking of what I could do with gnocchi that would be new and different. Add a vegetable. Maybe spinach. Or carrots. Or beets.  Or maybe use purple potatoes.

But then I blinked and it was two days before the posting date. So I went with what I had, and what I knew we'd all love.

Yukon golds.  Which I roasted in the oven rather than boiled.


And then I tried something else new. As I've mentioned before, I don't have a ricer, the preferred tool for breaking down cooked potatoes for making dough.  I have mashed, fork-riced, and even borrowed a ricer in the past, but this time, following Smitten Kitchen's recipe, I used a box grater.


Then it's a simple matter of adding in one egg, a bit of salt, and just enough flour to hold everything together.


The hardest part of making gnocchi (other than how messy the process can get...) is shaping the little potato-pasta-pillows.  I start by taking a section of the prepared dough and rolling it into a long snake.  I then cut that into equally-sized puffs.


(okay, as equal as I can manage...)

I then take each little puff and carefully, using my thumb, roll it down the tines of a fork to create the signature ridges.


Little man tried his hand at this process, too...


Hey, it's a messy process anyway. What's a little more mess, especially when he had so much fun "helping"?

Once all the dough is rolled, cut and ridged, I had two cookie sheets full of these delightful little morsels.


Now, my usual method of cooking gnocchi is to bring a big pot of water to boil, throw in the gnocchi and wait until they rise to the top.

But, after seeing some of the completed gnocchis on the Daring Cooks' forum, I saw that some people were pan frying their gnocchi. Say what? I didn't know you could do that!  So, while I still boiled most of my gnocchi, since that's the guaranteed way to get the kiddos to gobble it up, I tried my hand at pan frying about a quarter of them.

I started by sauteeing half of an onion in some olive oil, added two chopped roma tomatoes, and then threw in the gnocchi.


Okay, not totally photogenic... the gnocchis kind of stuck together and made a bit of a mess, but oh my gosh was this delicious.  I will definitely be doing this again, and playing with flavors, as well, since cooking them right in a pan sauce is so easy to do.


All in all, this was a huge success, despite my last-minute rush. The box grater worked like a charm and these gnocchi (from both cooking methods!) were light and fluffy and absolutely delicious.  I am so glad that I learned a new cooking method for them, too, as this just creates new, wonderful and delicious possibilities for our gnocchi-cooking future.

Todd, thank you so much for this awesome challenge.

To see the full challenge as presented by Todd, check it out here.

To see the other delicious gnocchi cooked up in the kitchen this month, check them out here.


Potato Gnocchi
(from Smitten Kitchen)

2 pounds potatoes (recipe called for Russetts, I used yukon gold)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, and bake them on a baking sheet for between 45 minutes and one hour (depending on the size of your potatoes), until they are fork-tender. For best results, turn the potatoes over halfway through the baking time. Let the potatoes cool slightly.
Peel the potatoes, and then pass them through a potato ricer, food mill or grate them over the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl. Add the lightly beaten egg and the salt to the potatoes and mix well with a wooden spoon.
Add the flour to the potatoes a little at a time, using only as much as you need so that the dough will not stick to your hands. When the flour has been incorporated, bring the dough together with your fingertips.
Pour the dough and any remaining floury bits onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about three or four minutes.
Divide it into 6 smaller balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece into a long rope, about 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 1 inch pieces.
You can cook the gnocchi as it is now, but traditional gnocchi has ridges. To create the ridges, press each piece of dough against the tines of a fork. With your finger, gently roll the pressed dough back off the fork. This takes a little practice. If you find the dough sticking to the fork, dip the fork in flour before you press the dough against it.
Place the gnocchi in a single layer on a lightly floured or parchment-lined dish. If you’d like to freeze them for later use, do so on this tray and once they are frozen, drop them into a freezer bag. This ensures that you won’t have one enormous gnocchi mass when you are ready to cook them.
To cook the gnocchi, place them into a pot of boiling and well-salted water. After a few minutes the gnocchi will float to the top. Continue to cook for one minute then remove and set aside.
Alternately, you can pan fry the prepared gnocchi in a lightly greased pan. Play around and find the method you like best!

Enjoy!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

April Sourdough Surprises - Pasta

This month's Sourdough Surprises marks the celebration of a full year of sourdough fun.

To do so, Jenni and I thought it would be fun to go back to how it all started - with the two of us trying out a pasta recipe "together" - or, as together as two people several states apart can manage.

We had so much fun sharing our sourdough experiences, that we wanted to spread the love. And thus Sourdough Surprises was born!

What better way to celebrate than to share our first joint sourdough endeavor with the rest of the group?

Homemade pasta is always delicious.  And the sourdough version is not exception.


Easy to prepare and yummy to boot?

I'd say that's one great celebration.

Thank you so much to everyone who has joined in our sourdough adventure - I can't wait to see where this next year takes us!






Sourdough Pasta
(from Mummy, I Can Cook!)

80 grams (about 1/4 cup) sourdough starter
60 grams flour (about 1/2 cup) (I used all purpose, you can use any combination of flours you want)
1 large egg yolk (though I did wind up needing to add in some of the white, too, so you might want to be prepared to do so...)

Mix together the starter and egg yolk.
Sift the flour, then make a well in the middle. Pour the starter/yolk mixture into the well and slowly mix it together.
Knead into a ball. Continue kneading the dough until it feels smooth and springy. I needed to add in some of my egg white here to make my dough soft enough. It could be because I was measuring by volume rather than by weight.
Once you have a smooth, springy ball of dough, allow it to rest, covered, overnight.
On a well floured surface, roll your dough as thinly as you can (and is still workable) and cut the pasta to the desired shape.
Leave to dry for half an hour before boiling.
You can sprinkle the fresh pasta with flour and freeze it in a tightly sealed container or bag if you do not plan on cooking it right away.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August Daring Cooks' Challenge - Cooking With Cornmeal

This month's Daring Cooks' Challenge was a little different. It was not a recipe, not a method of cooking, not some new technique... it was all about one ingredient.

Rachael of pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!

Now, I love cornmeal. I have made cornbread several different ways, I have made polenta, and I am not afraid to use cornmeal where ever it might fit.  Rachael provided us with some pretty cool recipes (some of which I still really want to try!), but I wasn't exactly sure where to begin.

Well, where is better to begin than, well, breakfast!

Little miss happened to ask for pancakes the morning after this challenge was announced.  So I told her sure, and that we'd try something fun. I substituted half of the flour in my basic pancake recipe (the one in my head... I don't even know where I got it anymore!) with, you got it, cornmeal!


Batter mixed, they went right onto the griddle (pan). They cooked up beautifully...


And little miss even helped me flip some of them!


Going with the cornmeal theme, rather than cover our pancakes with maple syrup, we served ours with strawberry jam.


And they got a pretty good review from the peanut gallery.


But I wasn't ready to call it quits on the challenge yet.  I still wanted to try something savory. Something different.

I decided to use cornmeal as a breading for some chicken. As the cornmeal has a different feel and taste than a usual flour or breadcrumb coating, I wanted to try to come up with a meal that would be different. My first go-to, easy thought for breaded chicken was chicken parmesean. But the cornmeal didn't feel like chicken parm to me. It felt more... Mexican.  But chicken parm is yummy. That's when I came up with the idea of Mexican cornmeal chicken... not parm...

Now, I will full well admit that I winged this. I came up with an idea in my head and just went for it in my normal "go with it" kind of way - didn't measure, just went by feel.

I started with a pile of cornmeal and chose some spices - garlic powder, cumin and cajun seasonings.


The spices were combined, then the chicken pieces (boneless, skinless breast, cut thin) were generously coated, then pan fried in olive oil.


The chicken was fried until just golden, then placed into a baking pan, on top of a bed of pinto beans.


Once all of the chicken was cooked and in the pan, I spooned some salsa over each piece, then popped the whole thing into the oven. About ten minutes before we were ready to eat, I took out the pan and topped each piece with sliced queso blanco.  The pan went back into the oven for about 8 minutes, and then I switched the oven to the broil setting for the final minutes to really melt that cheese.

The results...


...were delicious. We will definitely be repeating this meal. Which I never would have come up with if it were not for this challenge.

Rachael, thank you for encouraging me to think outside the box and try some new things with cornmeal! It's great to look at an "old" ingredient with a new eye, and that's just what you did for me.

To see the other creative cornmeal dishes cooked up in the kitchen this month, check them out here.


Cornmeal Pancakes

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk (I used coconut milk)
1 egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or canola, or melted butter)

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt. In a two-cup measuring cup, measure out your milk, then add in the egg and oil, and combine well.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until fully combined.
Cook pancakes on a hot skillet, about one to two minutes per side.
Serve with your favorite jam and enjoy!


Mexican Inspired Chicken not-Parm

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, each cut into about three thin yet evenly sized pieces
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
garlic powder, cumin and cajun seasonings, to taste
1 can pinto beans
1/2 - 3/4 cup salsa (I use mild, use what you'd like)
4 oz (about) queso blanco, sliced thin (or shredded)

Cover a 9" x 13" baking dish with foil and spray with non stick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Empty the can of pinto beans over the bottom of the covered pan, spreading them out evenly.
On a shallow plate or dish, combine the cornmeal and spices.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat, and add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
Generously coat each piece of chicken in the seasoned cornmeal, then place each piece into the pan, being careful not to crowd the pan (work in batches).
Cook the chicken until each side is golden brown, turning so that both sides are equally golden.
As each piece is done, place it in the pan, over the beans.
Once all of the chicken is in the pan, spoon a generous tablespoon of salsa (or as much as you would like) over each piece.
Cover the pan with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and top each slice with the sliced (or shredded) queso blanco.
Bake for another 10 minutes (times are approximate, depending on the size and thickness of your chicken. Mine were still a little thick, even after cutting...), changing the oven setting to broil for the final two minutes (watch it carefully once you switch it to broil!).
I served this over multi-colored vegetable rotini pasta, but you could go with rice or whatever you prefer.

Enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Spaetzle

I first made spaetzle as part of a Daring Cooks' Challenge last summer.  And I liked it so much that I have made it several times since. But I hadn't made it in a while. So this week, when I wanted to make it again to go with some leftovers, I had to look up the recipe.

And I was shocked to see that I hadn't included the recipe in my challenge post last summer!

So I had to rectify that.

Spaetzle is pretty easy to make. The dough, made of eggs milk, spices and flour, is simply mixed up in one bowl...


Until it is a pretty sticky mess.


Yup - that's about right.

The trickiest part is shaping the spaetzle.

Well, it's not tricky if you have a spaetle maker in your kitchen.

But I don't. So I use two spoons. It's not hard, but it is a little time consuming. Well, maybe only if you're trying to photograph the process and entertain a couple of kids at the same time...

Anyway, while you are making your dough, set your pot of water on to boil. Once the dough is ready and the water is boiling, dip the tips of your spoons into the boiling water.


Using one spoon, scoop up some of the dough. Then, using the second spoon, scrape down little bits of the scoop of dough and drop them into the boiling water.


Yeah, you kind of need three hands to photograph that, or a second shooter or something... but you get the idea...

The pasta cooks up really quickly. Once it rises to the top of the water, simply scoop it out with a skimmer or slotted spoon and keep the process going.


This made a great pasta side to our BBQ pulled-pork sandwiches.


A bit of butter and a sprinkle of parmesan and we were good to go.  Little miss loves it and told me that I can make it every day.



Spaetzel
(challenge recipe from the Daring Cooks' Challenge, My Noodle Hands)

2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk (I have used many varieties, including 1%, 2% and soy milk, and it hasn't affected the outcome)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
up to 1 tablespoon of assorted spices (I usually use garlic powder and dried, chopped parsley)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and any spices that you are using.
Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour, a little at a time, until the flour is completely incorporated. The dough should be elastic, smooth and hard to stir.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Shape your pasta, either using a spaetzle maker or using two spoons (dipping the spoons into the boiling water, scooping up some dough and using the second spoon to cut pieces of the dough into the boiling water) and allow it to boil. You can't really over-boil it, so don't worry. It should boil for a few minutes, at least.
Drain the spaetzle and serve with the sauce or topping of your choice.

Enjoy!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June Daring Cooks' Challenge - Cannelloni


Okay, so let me start this off with a quick apology. Things around here have been a bit busy, which has caused things to be a bit slow on this here blog. We're spending a lot of time playing outside, swimming, playing with friends, crafting, preparing for ballet recitals, trying gymnastics, running, jumping and generally making merry.  And while we're cooking and eating and all that good stuff, June will remain a very slow blog month. So I apologize for that.

We'll be back to our regular routine soon, but we're going to keep enjoying the start to our summer.

That being said, June's Daring Cooks' challenge was a wonderful one, and I am very pleased to share it with you.

Manu from Manu’s Menu was our Daring Cooks lovely June hostess and has challenged us to make traditional Italian cannelloni from scratch! We were taught how to make the pasta, filling, and sauces shared with us from her own and her family’s treasured recipes!

Now, I had no doubt the challenge would be outstanding when I saw that Manu was hosting it. She is a fantastic cook, amazing blogger, and an overall sweet, wonderful person.

The fact that she chose a delicious challenge was no surprise.

Cannelloni is a filled, baked pasta dish that is traditionally served on special occasions. And, as I said, it is delicious.

There are several components to this dish, meaning that you have to be a bit organized about making it, but it is straightforward and not all that difficult.

It starts with egg pasta.


Yup - eggs and flour. That's it. Mix them together and knead it into a dough.

Once the dough has rested, it is time to roll out the pasta.




Which is super easy.


If you have a pasta roller.


Which I don't.


So my sheets of pasta weren't exactly even... but I got a good workout.


The next component to prepare is the filling.


Many provided some really yummy looking options. I chose to wing it.


I sauteed some diced onion and frozen spinach, then threw in some chopped, cooked chicken.


Once that mixture cooled, I mixed in a whole lot of ricotta and grated paremsan.



Yum.


There was then one more component to prepare - the bechamel. A bechamel is basically a white sauce. It starts with a roux - a combination of fat (here - butter) and flour, and serves as a classic thickener.




To the roux, hot milk is added, then a bit of spice and voila. Basic bechamel.


Once everything is prepared, all that is left is to construct and cook.


Construction requires a bit of dexterity and timing...


The pasta sheets are quickly boiled to soften them, then they are filled.



The filled sheets are rolled, then laid into a baking pan. 



The dexterity comes into play when placing them into the pan. As in, trying not to let them come completely unrolled in the process.


I mostly succeeded...


Then the pasta is covered in the bechamel. I topped my bechamel with a can of crushed tomatoes. And a generous sprinkling of parmesan.



And then it bakes.


And smells lovely.


And tastes delicious.




I actually wanted to make so many versions of this. Still do. But, with all of that busy we have going on right now, rolling my own pasta by hand has taken a bit of a back seat. But you can bet I will be making plenty of variations of this, because it is well worth the effort.


Manu, thank you so much for this wonderful and delicious challenge, and for the wonderful inspiration and support you have provided all month long.


To see the other wonderful dishes cooked up in the kitchen this month, check them out here.





For the egg pasta (from the challenge):
(to make enough cannelloni for 4 persons):


100 grams (2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons) (170 ml) (3½ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 large egg


*note - 100 grams is an approximation - you may need less, so it's best to start a bit light and add more as needed!


Put the flour and eggs in a food processor and mix. When the dough looks like crumbs, pour it onto the bench top sprinkled with a little flour. Knead well by hand until you obtain a smooth dough. Make it into a ball, wrap it in cling wrap and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
Not having a food processor, I did this by hand - combining the eggs and flour together with my hands then just kneading the mixture together.


Now you are ready to roll out the egg pasta.
Cut out a piece of egg pasta dough and flatten it into a rectangular shape with your hands. Put a little flour on it and begin passing it though the pasta machine. Turn the dial to the widest setting (#1) and, starting with one of the shorter sides of the rectangle, feed it through the rollers. Now fold one side of the piece of dough into the middle, then fold the other side over that to form 3 layers. Starting with one of the narrower sides of the folded dough, feed the pasta through the machine, again at the widest setting. Repeat the folding and rolling technique on the widest setting for at least a couple of times.
Now you can start rolling it thinner, by turning the dial to the next narrowest setting (# 2). Roll the pasta through the machine without folding the dough between settings. Keep reducing the settings until #7 (it is the second last on my machine – about 1 mm thick). If the sheet of pasta gets too long, you can cut it in half with a knife. To make cannelloni, cut out rectangular pasta sheets (10x15 cm) (4”x6”).


Or, without a pasta machine, use a rolling pin and roll the dough as thinly and evenly as you can by hand. I divided the dough into four and just kept at it, trying to create even sheets of pasta. It works, but it takes time and definitely gives you a workout!




For the Bechamel sauce (from the challenge):
(enough to make cannelloni for 4 people):


2 cups (500 ml) milk, hot
3½ tablespoons (52½ ml) (50 gm) (1¾ oz) butter
1/3 cup (80 ml) (50 gm) (1¾ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 pinch salt
1 pinch nutmeg


Put the butter in a non-stick pot and let it melt. Add the flour and whisk constantly until well incorporated: this is the “roux”. Let it cook for a minute or two.
Now start adding hot milk little by little, while mixing continuously until the milk is well incorporated. Do not add more milk unless it is well incorporated. Keep doing so until all the milk is incorporated.
Add salt and nutmeg and cook it on a low flame for 10 minutes or until it thickens.
When ready, cover it to prevent a film to appear on the surface.
Note: If you still get a lumpy sauce, do not throw it out. You can still save it and make it smooth by using a hand stick blender.




For the filling (my own creation):


1 small onion, chopped
1 10 ounce box of frozen spinach
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup chopped, cooked chicken
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste


Sautee the onion in a small amount of olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the spinach. Saute until tender throughout. Add chopped chicken and stir to combine. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool.
When the sauteed spinach mixture is cool, combine it with the cheeses, adjusting the spices to taste.
Set the filling aside until you are ready to construct your finished cannelloni.




For the final dish:
You will need the rolled pasta sheets, the prepared filling, the prepared bechamel sauce and a large can of crushed tomatoes and some grated parmesan cheese for sprinkling.


Put a large pot with salty water on the fire and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta sheets in it for 1 minute. Do this in batches (I use a shallow but large pot and I cook them in 1 layer, so I am sure they do not stick together). Remove them with a slotted spoon and put them on a clean tea towel to cool down.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Now take one sheet of cooked pasta and put 1/8 of the filling along the long side of the rectangle. Roll it over to make a cannellone. Do so for the remaining rectangles of pasta.
Take a big enough oven dish to fit all your cannelloni tightly. Spray it with some cooking oil (or melted butter) and pour some b├ęchamel sauce on the bottom. Spread it well, especially in the corners. Put the cannelloni in the oven dish on 1 layer.
Cover the cannelloni with the remaining b├ęchamel sauce and sprinkle with the grated parmesan.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then turn oven to broil and broil for about 5 minutes (watching carefully so it doesn't burn).
Serve right away.


Enjoy!




Friday, March 2, 2012

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta

Do you ever have one of those days where you just have no idea what to have for dinner? Nothing's defrosted, the leftovers just aren't speaking to you and you are wondering just what in the world you are going to eat come 6:00 (or whatever time dinner time is in your house...).

Tonight was one of those nights in our house.

Despite trying to meal plan, there are still random days, on those weeks where the plan wasn't well fleshed out, where I still have no idea what we're going to eat.

Then I remembered the broccoli and cauliflower I'd bought at the produce stand this week. Veggies as the main meal? You betcha.

I cleaned and cut the broccoli and cauliflower, roughly chopped a (rather large...) onion, peeled and crushed six cloves of garlic and then spread everything out on a foil-lined baking sheet. Then I added a drained can of chickpeas for good measure.



A drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of salt, then the whole pan went into a 400 degree oven.

A short while later, here's how it looked.


I had to stop myself from eating this right out of the pan. So how was this dinner? Some pasta, some grated cheese and voila:


Not too shabby for a last minute dinner call!


Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta

1 head of broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
1 large onion
6 cloves of garlic
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (eyeball it, really, as you drizzle)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon coarse salt (I always go light on salt)
1 box (12 ounces, though most are 16 ounces... mine was just a small one...) pasta, your choice of shape
Grated sharp cheddar cheese, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large cookie sheet with foil.
Cut the broccoli and cauliflower into large florets.
Roughly chop the onion.
Peel and crush (with the side of your knife) the garlic.
Scatter the prepared vegetables on the prepared pan.
Drain the chickpeas and scatter them over the other vegetables.
Drizzle the pan with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Put pan in the preheated oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes, tossing gently (I used tongs) ever ten minutes. Roast time will vary depending on how loaded your pan was. Mine was pretty full, so it took about 35 minutes.
While the vegetables are roasting, prepare the pasta per the package directions.
To serve, spoon pasta onto plate and top with roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with grated cheddar to taste.
Enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sourdough Pasta

There are things that I really love about this new online world. What started as a hobby for me, this whole food blogging thing, has introduced me to some really amazing ideas, foods and, yes, people. I love how much I have learned, and I value the friendships that I am making in the process.

While chatting online with one of my new and wonderful friends, Jenni from The Gingered Whisk, we wound up talking about our sourdough starters. Yes, we are food nerds. And darn proud of it. Anyway, she sent me a link for the next sourdough recipe she wanted to try. Pasta. I think I said something along the lines of "Wow! I want to make that too!" or, you know, something equally eloquent... So we decided we'd both try it. On the same day. And report our findings to one another.

So on the decided-upon day, I set to work. Technically, you are supposed to prepare the dough the night before. But you are also supposed to use starter that has been fed recently. So I fed my starter before bed and prepared my dough first thing in the morning. Close enough, right?

The recipe calls for a mere quarter cup of starter.


Which is then mixed with a single egg yolk.


This mixture is then kneaded together with flour to create, well, dough! I used my stand mixer to do the kneading.


And, by the time the kiddos and I sat down to breakfast, my dough was resting.


Later that afternoon, after a good seven or eight hours of rest for the dough (that is as good as overnight, right?), it was time to get to rolling. Little miss requested noodles, as opposed to filled pasta, and that actually went better with what we'd planned for dinner that night, so that's what we made.

Using plenty of flour, I rolled out the dough.


The dough rolled out beautifully. The rolled out dough was then rolled up, and I used my fancy cutting tool to cut strips of pasta.


Okay, it's the pizza cutter. But it works really well for this, too.

The recipe calls for the noodles to dry for at least 30 minutes. I wasn't exactly sure where I could "hang" the noodles, so I kind of improvised. I have a three-tiered cooling rack system, so I set the whole thing up and hung the pasta from the top tier.


Not too shabby! After a half hour break, the pasta was boiled (it cooked super fast - just a couple of minutes in the boiling water), and we were ready for dinner. It was served with just a little bit of butter, some garlic sea salt, and a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.


Delicious. Little miss asked me if I could make it every night. I'd say that's a thumbs up!

While I didn't agree to make it every night, I did want to give it another try, as I really wanted to try filled pasta using this dough, as well. So a week later, I gave it another shot.

I had already planned to make a soup that called for tortellini. It's like it was meant to be or something.

And this time I made the dough the night before. Because I was a bit more on the ball with the feeding schedule for my starter. And I'd planned a little better.

I chose to make a simple ricotta filling - ricotta, beaten egg and some spices. Garlic powder and Italian seasonings, in this case.


And once again it was time to roll out my dough. It rolled out just as nicely, this time, but the cutting procedure was much more labor intensive. Rather than strips, to make tortellini, I needed rounds. I used a small juice glass as my cutter and set to work.


Once cut, I used an improvised piping bag (zip top plastic bag with the corner snipped. Works like a charm) to add the filling.

Once the filling was on each circle, it was time to shape the tortellini. I don't have any pictures because this was kind of a messy process, but I'll do my best to describe how I shaped them. I folded the circle in half, over the filling, wetting the dough a little bit to seal that seam. This creates a half-circle of filled dough. I then folded (rolled?) both corners of the half circle in to the middle, and pinched them together to create a seal there. Does that make any sense? You wind up with little pillows that look like this:


Leaving these guys to dry was a trickier process than the regular pasta. The filling keeps the pasta wet, and thus keeps the dough a little sticky, despite all that flour I sprinkled on the plate. After a half hour or so, I flipped them to try to let them dry on the other sides. Great idea in theory, but many of my tortellini lost their shape in the process. Oh well. Nicely shaped or not, they boiled up beautifully.


And they tasted pretty good, too. I thought that the sourdough flavor was more pronounced with these than with the noodles. I am not sure if that is because the dough rested longer (overnight) or whether the addition of the filling highlighted the flavor a bit, but they were definitely fun.


I'll post about the soup for which these were made later this week.

What I learned is that I need a lot of practice rolling, cutting and shaping pasta. And that it is extra fun to have a virtual cooking party with someone in another state.

Go check out Jenni's sourdough pasta and let her know what you think! I can't wait to see what we'll cook together next.


Sourdough Pasta

80 grams (about 1/4 cup) sourdough starter
60 grams flour (about 1/2 cup) (I used all purpose, you can use any combination of flours you want)
1 large egg yolk (though I did wind up needing to add in some of the white, too, so you might want to be prepared to do so...)

Mix together the starter and egg yolk.
Sift the flour, then make a well in the middle. Pour the starter/yolk mixture into the well and slowly mix it together.
Knead into a ball. Continue kneading the dough until it feels smooth and springy. I needed to add in some of my egg white here to make my dough soft enough. It could be because I was measuring by volume rather than by weight.
Once you have a smooth, springy ball of dough, allow it to rest, covered, overnight.
On a well floured surface, roll your dough as thinly as you can (and is still workable) and cut the pasta to the desired shape.
Leave to dry for half an hour before boiling.
You can sprinkle the fresh pasta with flour and freeze it in a tightly sealed container or bag if you do not plan on cooking it right away.

Enjoy!

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