homemade pasta bliss

Pasta

After a crazy couple of weekends of moving, hosting and cleaning, I was really ready to kick back this weekend and try some new skills in the kitchen. Enter, homemade pasta making.

I know, I know. Pasta is so cheap, does it really make sense to make it homemade? In short, yes. Yes, it does. Homemade pasta is silky and delicious in a way that dried pasta could never even imagine. I made 3 batches (like 734 servings of pasta) and I’ve almost eaten it all. I know this says a lot more about my eating habits than the recipe, but trust me when I say, this stuff is legit.

If you’re fancy and rich, a Kitchen Aid mixer makes this process go a million times faster. If you’re a little bit of a cheap, white-trash rat (like myself) you can borrow a manual pasta roller from your unsuspecting friend who asked you to please watch her cats for the weekend, not rifle through her kitchen cabinets for supplies. Your call.

The manual roller has a few benefits – first and most importantly, you can watch Jurassic World on your tablet in our kitchen without the motor of a Kitchen Aid distracting you from Chris Pratt’s thighs. If that’s not reason enough, a manual roller will also make you feel like an Italian grandmother and your arms and back will be a little sore the next day. #functionalfitness

So, here you go – the simplest, most delicious recipe for homemade pasta. Each batch yields about 6 servings of pasta for a normal human being, or 3 servings if your appetite resembles mine. Trust me, just triple it. (pro tip: it freezes super well too!)

Homemade Pasta Recipe

1 cup flour (for the dough)

¼ cup quality olive oil (seriously, just splurge here at the store)

1 egg + 2 egg yolks

1 cup flour reserve (for flouring your rolling pin/counter/obnoxious cat)

Dash of salt

Glass of wine (for drinking, not for the recipe)

Begin by taking one cup of flour and dumping it on the counter. Get comfortable with the fact that this is going to be messy. Create a little bit of a reservoir in the middle of the flour, pretend you’re making a flour volcano. Make sure the hole is big enough to hold all of the liquid we’re going to add shortly. When in doubt, make it a bit bigger. *

In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and 2 egg yolks. Really go for it. Pretend they’re your ex-boyfriend who cheated on you with their coworker.

Back to the “Ring of Flour” – sprinkle a dash of salt on the flour, extra points if you throw a bit behind your left shoulder for good luck. Take a sip of wine, you’ve earned it.

Add the olive oil and eggs t0 the middle of the volcano (picture this liquid as your lava – it helps, I promise!) and begin to mix the liquid and dry ingredients with your finger.

Work your dough until it begins to form a ball. Add flour to the surface as needed so it doesn’t stick.

Now here comes the work. Once you have your dough ball (not your cat, the literal dough ball!) spend the next 5 minutes rage-kneading the hell out of it. Put on some hardcore music and go to town. Use that palm. Picture that ex. Create the pasta this world deserves.

Next, cover the dough with a cloth and go chill with your glass of wine for 5 minutes. Dream of Chris Pratt’s thighs. Wonder when people will figure out that trying to put dinosaurs in an amusement park is a bad idea.

Come back to your dough with a little buzz and get ready to roll! Whether you’re using a Kitchen Aid or a hand roller, the first few steps are the same. Take 1/3 of your dough and flatten it down with your palm so it resembles a thin pancake.

Make sure your pasta roller is on the widest setting (for some rollers that’s a level 9, for others they start at 1 – no need to read instructions, just move the dial until the rollers are at their widest).

Run your dough pancake through the widest setting. Then take the dough and fold it into thirds and run it through again. Do this 3 times on the widest setting. You want to get those delicious doughy layers.

Next take your rolled dough and move the dial down to the next widest setting. Run the dough through 3 times. Repeat this step until you have gotten through all the settings and you can see your hands through the dough when you hold it up to the light. Pat yourself on the back because that was a lot of work.

Next, cut your thin dough strip into a few pieces so it’s not super long (unless you’re going for a Lady and the Tramp vibe where people need to suck their pasta up!) and run it through the cutter attachment to your roller (or your Kitchen Aid if you are a trust fund baby).

Toss your beautiful ribbons in a ton of flour so they don’t stick together. Seriously, so much flour. Otherwise they will melt together and will become a pasta blog which, while still probably delicious, is not the vibe we’re going for here.

Do this one million more times with the rest of your dough to have sufficient pasta for the weekend.

To cook:

Just throw in a pot of boiling water for about a minute (2 minutes if you’ve frozen your pasta like that badass meal planner that you are) and then toss with store bought sauce for a meal that will impress even the most grumpy of mother-in-laws.

*Great life advice in general

 

Advertisements

chicken cashew curry, ftw!

curry ingredients

One of my 2016 intentions has been to cook at home more. This sounds simple, but with a crazy museum schedule and dozens of awesome restaurants within walking distance of my apartment in Denver, it’s hard for cooking to compete.

This past week I decided to pull the trigger and try making something fun at home. Down the internet rabbit hole I went to find inspiration (I’m looking at you, Buzzfeed Food) and I stumbled across The Pioneer Woman’s chickpea curry recipe. Now, besides her magnificent red hair, Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) has some credibility as a solid, no-nonsense chef so I thought I’d give it a shot, even though I wasn’t sure how much curry there was to be found on the range during the pioneer days. I was in, I was fully committed, I’d made a shopping list on my phone and I’ll be damned if it didn’t include fish sauce.

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon: I’m back from the grocery store and I am feeling pretty proud of myself. The produce is lined up on the counter, Kacey Musgraves is playing on the radio and I am ready to rock. Except, I’d totally forgotten the chickpeas. Damn it. Literally in the title of the recipe. New plan. I had chicken. I had cashews. I had an absurd amount of sweet potatoes that I’d impulse bought when I knocked some off the display in King Soopers (I was so embarrassed, I just threw a bunch in my cart so I could run away. Adulting like a boss.) I began to cook.

Guys. It was as though I was channeling Julia Child. I grilled chicken while steaming a potato. I chopped onions like Buzzfeed Food taught me to (I swear this is not a paid ad for Buzzfeed Food, I just get all their emails) I tossed garlic like it was a beaded necklace at Mardi Gras and I gross old man who hadn’t seen a topless woman since the war. It was magical.

And then I ate it. And it was so good. And I realized that my 2016 intention of cooking more at home might not be dead in the water after all. It might just be soaked in delicious coconut milk and served over rice.

Chicken Cashew Curry with Sweet Potatoes (makes, like, I don’t know 4 lunches?)

1 grilled chicken breast

1 medium sweet potato, preferably picked up off the floor in shame

handful of cashews*

1/2 tablespoon of chopped garlic

1/2 onion

2 tablespoons of red curry paste

3 shakes of fish sauce*

1 sliced red pepper

handful of broccoli florets*

1 can of coconut milk

red pepper flakes if you like spice

as much rice as you can fit in the cooker

You’re going to fall in love with multi-tasking at the beginning of this recipe. First, put a bit of oil in a saute pan. Add in the chopped onion and the garlic and let it sizzle for a hot minute. The onions will start to turn brown and smell like heaven.

Next start grilling the chicken. Just keep grilling the chicken until it’s done. If you’re like me and are terrified of giving yourself salmonella, this will be when the chicken is totally black and nearly inedible. You do you.

Poke the sweet potato as if it were your ex-lover who left you for their secretary. Stick it in the microwave for a few minutes to steam it. I put mine in for 3 minute increments and just kept poking it to see if it was soft. Something I also like to do to my internet crushes.

Once the onions are soft, toss in the vegetables. I don’t steam them beforehand because I like them crispy, but I’m not about to tell you how to live your life. Give this bitch a stir. Then add in the curry paste, fish sauce, steamed sweet potato and chicken.

Lastly, add in the can of coconut milk. Side note: coconut milk gets a hard shell on top when you first open it. Don’t poke this hard shell because you will cause quite a bit of the milk to squirt out into your face and you will be embarrassed. Even if you are home alone. However, your skin will feel amazing for days, so there’s a little bit of a silver lining somewhere in there. Anyway, add the milk to the pan and put the stove on low. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sneak bites when no one is looking.

Spoon over rice and add all the toppings you can think of. Some recommendations include: more cashews (natch), cilantro, lime, or chili flakes.