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.