Using My Noodle

9 Feb

So a while back I went to my favourite restaurant Papa Haydn’s downtown and tried something other than my usual Mixed greens salad and Croque Monsieur. I had the most amazing lamb bolognese, and from there I was obsessed. It took me about a week to get the recipe down, but I’ve been making it quite frequently ever since. Ground lamb isn’t particularly easy to find, so I just use beef while I wait for local stores to begin stocking it. A few weeks ago I decided that if I was making my bolognese from scratch, why not make the pasta from scratch too?

After a quick hunt I found out just how easy pasta dough is to make: it’s just eggs and flour! That was enough to get me interested, and then I remembered I had a pasta machine still in its box in the back of a kitchen cupboard. So, I unwrapped the machine and got to work. You make a well out of flour and put the eggs in the middle. Since I was just making it for my dad and I, I used 2 eggs and 1 cup of flour. The basic ratio is two eggs to one cup of flour, and one egg per person.

Slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs until you have a ball of dough. Turn this out onto a floured surface and begin kneading and working the dough until it becomes smooth like this:

You really need to let the dough rest for a while, so I cut up all my ingredients for the sauce and came back to it afterwards.

I started off with half a red onion and a carrot. I usually use yellow onions, but we had this red one, so I decided to use it or a change. And if you don’t like the idea of the carrot, just know that since it’s grated it is basically untraceable. it adds a subtle flavour, and it a great way to get your veggies. I’d usually cut up some celery too, but I didn’t have any so I had to do without. 😦

Then I cut up some fresh herbs: parsley, rosemary, and thyme. I also minced some garlic, but I neglected to take a photo.

Once all of this was done, I returned to my pasta. I separated it into 4 sections just to make it easier on myself. I then put each chunk through the rollers 3 times, decreasing the size each time until I had it as thin as possible. Then I put extra flour on it and ran it through the fettucine rollers. This took a few tries, as the dough kept getting stuck (a problem I still have to deal with) and curling back under itself.  

Once I got some good results though, I started laying the strands out on a rack because I was paranoid that they would stick together. I’m also pretty paranoid about dropping my camera in bowls of batter or sauces, but that’s another thing all together.

Once all my pasta strands were laid out, I got out my dutch oven, and started to heat up some olive oil. One it was nice and hot I dumped in the onions and carrots and cooked them for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. I moved the veggies to the edges of the pan and dumped in the ground beef. I cooked it until brown, slowly adding in the onion/carrot mixture until all combined.

I then poured in a can of tomato puree an a can of diced tomatoes. These were the only non-fresh ingredients in the whole dinner, and I have already begun to look through recipes using oven-roasted tomatoes. Something tells me I’ll wait until the farmer’s markets start-up again, so that if I go through all that trouble, I’ll really be able to say I have the freshest, purest ingredients.

I then added in all my fresh herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. If you like it spicy, you could add in some Tabasco or red pepper flakes, but I’m a wimp (as we’ve already established in the last post) so I leave those on their shelves. The good news is, it tastes better the longer it simmers, so you can leave it to cook anywhere from 10-40 minutes. I let it simmer for about 20 minutes since I was in a rush. While the sauce cooks, boil a pot of water with a decent amount of salt in it.

Since the pasta is fresh, it only takes a few minutes to cook. You need to keep testing it to make sure you don’t let it get all mushy. mushy pasta= not good one it’s cooked, drain in and split it into bowls. Layer on the bolognese, and perhaps sprinkle on some freshly grated parmesan?

The recipe I started out with was this: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/05/ryans-bolognese-sauce/ but I don’t really pay attention to amounts and I add in whatever I feel like. If you start of with carrots, celery, onions and meat, you’ll have the perfect foundation

I probably won’t be posting as frequently, I was just getting through a bunch of projects I had on my camera. That doesn’t mean I’m not excited to share my vegan chocolate cupcake recipe and my pistachio and white chocolate chip cookies recipe though. 🙂

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