Thursday, July 14, 2011

Daring Cooks' July Challenge - Homemade Noodles

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks‟ July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

This month’s Daring Cooks challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. I had been wanting to make pasta from scratch for a while now, and had already borrowed my father-in-law’s pasta machine even before the challenge was revealed (it also came in handy for the Daring Bakers’ baklava challenge).

I started off simple, by following the egg fettuccine recipe provided. The dough was very easy to work with. When cutting the pasta, the strands initially stuck together, and I had to finish separating them by hand. But I floured the next batches more thoroughly, and there were no other problems. I prepared the fettuccine very simply as well, a variation on aglio e olio: some garlic-infused oil, a crack of pepper, and some baby spinach thrown in with the pasta at the last minute. I would have liked the noodles themselves to be a little slicker, but I guess making pasta takes practice.

After that, I just had to make stuffed pasta: so many possibilities! My father-in-law had lent me a nifty little gadget to help with making ravioli.

Once the pasta is rolled, you place it over the cutters and stuff the pockets.

Cover with another sheet, run a rolling pin over, then turn over and press down.

And voilà! Just cut out the ravioli, and you’re done!

For the filling, I sautéed some finely chopped pancetta and portobello mushrooms, then mixed in some parsley, bread crumbs, and an egg. It wound up being a little too dry, and the sage-infused butter I used as a sauce did little to balance it. Normally, I guess one would have added ricotta, but nobody likes ricotta around here…

Ok, they’re not the most photogenic little morsels, either. Again, practice makes perfect.

I finished off this challenge with the dish I am proudest of: homemade ramen. Actually, I didn’t really think of this as part of the challenge: circumstances last week conspired to fill me with an irresistible urge to make ramen, and I spent four days running around looking for recipes and ingredients (when I get the urge to make something in particular, I tend to get a little obsessed). I didn’t think I would get this done before the deadline, but it turns out I was able to serve it for dinner last night.

I’m actually going to make a separate post about the making of this dish, so I won’t go into details here. I’ll just specify that I didn’t go so far as to pull the noodles by hand, which is the traditional way to make these. Instead, I used the pasta machine. So making the noodles themselves wasn’t much different from making pasta, except that the ramen dough was egg-free, and included a hard-to-find ingredient called kansui, or alkaline water.

This was definitely one of the most productive and inspiring challenges I’ve taken part in. Thank you, Steph! The rest of you can look at the challenge recipes here at the Daring Kitchen, and also go through the Daring Cooks’ blog roll to see what other kind of noodles were cooked up this month.


  1. Wow - go you!!!
    You have put an amazing amount of work into this challenge.
    I like the ravioli maker. Looks like it not only is useful, but would also look really cute in the kitchen!
    Well done.
    Looking forward to your ramen post.

  2. Love your pasta, and love the raviolli, just awesome! Now I really want to buy one of these gadgets to make some myself. And your noodles... they look fantastic! Can't wait to read all the details about it!

  3. I need one of those ravioli gadgets! In my book there are few things better than portabellos! Your pasta look really wonderful, great job!

  4. Everything looks so good. I will keep an eye out for the ramen noodle post, the photo is making me hungry!

  5. I can't wait to see the ramen post! Your noodles and ravioli look amazing too. Are you going to give the pasta roller back?
    I am going to be in Montreal for the month of August, and meet up with Evelyne at some point, so maybe you can join us.

  6. I can't wait to see the ramen post! And it's wonderful to know I'm not the only one who can be a bit obsessive at times! The ravioli cutter is wonderful! We aren't ricotta fans around here either, which is part of the reason I hesitated to make ravioli. Maybe I'll take your route and just leave it out!

  7. Oh Val I can't believe how gorgeous all the pics are . The raviolis look fantastic and the ramen must be like heaven. I saw a few of you FB posts on the prep, takes a lot to make one.

  8. Wow! love your pastas! Those ravioli look beautiful to me - portobella and bacon is a divine combination. And your ramen looks spectacular - I am staying tuned for that posting!

  9. So great! I love that you made ramen! It looks amazing, too. I think I want to steal your FIL's ravioli gadget, though. Brilliant!

  10. Lovely job! That ramen looks delicious!

  11. Fettuccine, Rvaioli AND Ramen? Super pasta woman! I love the spinach con aglio e olio over the fettuccine and I need to get myself a ravioli cutter cuz my pasta sheets were drying so quickly with each individual seal and cut! Can't wait to see your Ramen post because it looks phenomenal! That said, must the try sweet corn ravioli, it's simply amazing!

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