One of my oldest friends (based on length of time we’ve known each other, not her age…), Jamie, and her fiancé Colby came over for dinner on Sunday.
There are few things as special as having someone in your life who has known you from the very beginning, and is still by your side. Believe it or not, the two of us were in a playgroup together when we were babies, along with a few other wonderful people we are still in touch with today.
28 years later while we’ve upgraded from baby bottles to wine bottles, it’s comforting to know some things, like a true bond, never change.
Last time Jamie and Colby were here we introduced them to our area’s bustling restaurant scene, so for this visit we opted for the casual coziness of being at home.
This felt like the perfect opportunity to dive into using my new pasta maker, especially because when Hubby and I saw them last, they took us to Eataly NYC. I knew they would appreciate a fine Italian meal, and while I’m no Mario Batali, I was confident I could prepare something great!
If you’ve been following me long enough, you are fully in tune with the idea that I love to go all out with food choices when I throw a party. However, a sit-down meal for four needed to be a bit more simplistic with only a few thoughtful selections.
We began our evening with some appetizers (my sundried tomato white bean dip with crackers, assorted olives, black bean and corn salsa with multi grain chips…) and an enticing variety of vino as provided by our generous visitors. We curled up on our living room couches and enjoyed great conversation before moving on to the…oh yes, back to the pasta:
If you recall, I attempted to make ravioli by hand for Valentine’s day last February and while I got an A for effort, it was obvious I needed a little assistance from a special gadget.
Last month I found a complicated recipe for pasta dough that I started to prepare, but because I’m used to writing my own recipes, I don’t always read directions all the way through. I had little time to spare and found out it needed an hour to rise!
I ended up scratching that project completely, but was determined to try again. This time, I turned to the Kitchen Aid manual and found a process that only required three ingredients and a few simple steps!
At first the texture seemed too dry and I was afraid it would never come together, but just like anything you do for the first time, I had to get into my groove. Suddenly I was rolling out flat sheets of dough and churning out ribbons of beautiful, long noodles!
Hubby and I worked together which was such a fun, romantic activity, making the feeling of accomplishment even more extraordinary. Anything can be intimidating if you’ve never attempted it before, but I’m so glad I stuck with it! Not only was the experience worth it, but the result was phenomenal.
Homemade noodles only take a few minutes to cook so once you get the swing of the process, it goes pretty quickly. These came out incredibly light and delicate, almost like a rice pasta as Jamie pointed out.
Laughter and stories filled us between bites of fettucine tossed with my very own sauce (recipe to come tomorrow!) and crostini with spreadable roasted garlic. We wrapped up our meal with assorted cupcakes and my decadent brownie bars, for an evening we’ll be talking about in another 28 years.
(For use with Kitchen-Aid pasta attachment)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Place eggs and water into mixer bowl.
Sift in flour.
Attach bowl and flat beater to mixer and turn speed to 2.
Mix for 30 seconds.
Remove flat beater and attach dough hook.
Turn speed to 2 and knead 2 minutes.
Hand knead dough for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Cover with a dry towel and let rest 15 minutes.
Attach pasta sheet roller and cut dough into sections.
Flatten dough in your hand and set roller at 1.
Turn mixer to speed 2 and roll dough through to flatten.
Fold dough and repeat process a few times: Fold, flatten, fold, flatten.
When dough is soft and smooth, increase the roller to settings 2 and 3, but do not fold anymore.
Repeat a few times on each setting, then increase to 6 or 7. The sheets will be very long (!) and paper thin.
Cut them all straight across at the same spot, using one as a template.
Once all your dough is flattened into thin sheets, switch to your thin pasta cutter and run the sheets through one time to create noodles. (This part is so exciting!)
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt and 1 tablespoon oil.
Gradually add pasta and continue to cook at a slow boil until al dente, or slightly firm to the bite.
The noodles will float to the top of the water as they cook, so stir occasionally to keep it cooking evenly.
Drain in a colander when done.
Toss with sauce (recipe coming tomorrow!) and serve.
Eat and enjoy with very good friends.