Italian cooks have been making fresh pasta for a long time. Although a very simple recipe, it does take some time. I thought on a cool fall Sunday evening, this might be just what hits the spot. Most Italian cooks just know how to make the fresh pasta. They don’t use recipes for the pasta. They just know what looks and feels right. It is basically eggs and flour that are gradually incorporated into each other. You start with a clean flat surface and a few cups of flour. In the flour you make a well and add a few fresh eggs. The eggs are gently mixed with the edges of the flour until it is all combined. You can either roll out the finished pasta dough with a rolling pin and cut with a knife or if you have a pasta machine you can make all kinds of pasta. Remember, cooking time will be quicker than using a dried pasta product. I wanted to include my own personal meatsauce recipe as well. The fresh pasta recipe is courtesy of Mario Batali and can be found on the Food Network website. www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/fresh-pasta-recipe/index.html
Feel free to use the store bought pasta and sauce as well, I won’t tell and I do this all the time, when I need to serve a dinner in less than 30 minutes to my family.
TILLY’S NEST MEATSAUCE
1 pound 90/10 ground beef
1 medium diced onion
1 medium green pepper chopped into small pieces
3 cloves of garlic–minced
1 tbsp of dried parsley
1 tbsp of dried basil
salt and pepper
IF YOU HAVE TIME, do this next
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatos
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
IF YOU DONT HAVE TIME, skip the above and do this instead
1 32 ounce jar of prepared pasta sauce. I use Classico Tomato and Basil
1. On the stovetop in a large pan over medium heat, drizzle the pan with olive oil and add the garlic, onions and green pepper. Cook until vegetables are softened.
2. Next add the ground beef to the pan and cook through. Drain the fat.
3. IF YOU HAVE TIME, add the crushed tomatos, salt and pepper. Simmer for 45 minutes. IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME, then instead, add the jar of prepared pasta sauce heat through for 10 minutes and serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Start kneading the dough with both hands, primarily using the palms of your hands. Add more flour, in 1/2-cup increments, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any left over dry bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. Roll and form as desired.
Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe, they are essential for a light pasta.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME, cook 1 pound of store bought pasta according to the package directions.