Monday, February 17, 2014

Pasta Adventures

I'm given a lot of freedom in the kitchen here at the Nanny house, and the Boss-lady is an adventurous sort. This combination fosters an environment of experimentation, and leads to a few experiments that I would not have previously thought of doing.
Our biggest one so far has been Chocolate Pasta, or Pasta di Cacao.
If you too are a foodie adventurer, clink the above link for the recipe.

I sifted the dry ingredients together.

Then made a volcano on the counter out of them and the eggs, because that's the traditional way to do things.
It's also the messy way to do things, and my unpracticed hands couldn't manage to mix the ingredients together properly that way. I had to scoop everything up and dump it in a bowl to finish mixing.
The dough was also a bit too dry, so I had to add water a little bit at a time.
Once it was mixed, it was wrapped and set in the fridge to rest.
After nearly an hour of waiting, I took the lump of dough and separated it into flattened portions to roll through the machine.

I rolled each portion several times on each size setting, gradually forcing the dough into thinner and longer sheets. The first couple rolls were colored with a hint of panic, because the portions came out of the roller chunky, jagged, and broken. But we just kept folding and rolling and, eventually, each portion became smooth sheets of chocolaty pasta.

We cut the pasta sheets to fettuccine width.

And then we hung the cut strips to dry untangled on a wooden rack while I made the cream sauce and continued to cut yet more pasta.

And here's the final bowl of Chocolate Fettuccine, served with nutmeg cream sauce and my honey balsamic eggplant.

We had leftovers, and I wanted to use them for a kugel, but there wasn't quite enough for that.
Oh well.
It leaves me with aspirations for in the future and gives me a good excuse to make chocolate pasta at least once more.

A few weeks later, we tried our hands at herb pasta based on this recipe  from Ya a la Venta. We had no guide for the herbal addition.

I'll admit, I approached the task with more madness than with method, and some of the the sheets partly dried ever-so-slightly while we were working. And those sheets that did not dry were plagued with pockets of excess moisture from the sprinkling of fresh cut herbs.

As a result, they did not all roll well.
I had to roll them out by hand and those that still did not obey were double wrapped in plastic and chucked in the refrigerator before I lost my patience in a temper.

It turned into a rather Felix Culpa moment, though. The next day I pulled out the lumpy sheets of pasta, rolled them by hand, and stuffed them like gigantic ravioli. I boiled them quickly and then placed them in the oven at about 200 F to stay warm and to crisp. They were a little tough, but delicious. I'd do it again, but I'll treat my dough better to avoid the ravioli becoming tough.

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