Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I love fresh pasta.  As stated previously, Jeff got me a pasta maker for my birthday, and it is quite possibly the best birthday present in the history of ever.  With the exception of maybe a sausage maker, which he did not get me (hint, hint), or all of my Star Wars baking accessories.  Oh yes, my friends, the most epic baking story ever will be documented on this blog eventually.

Anyway, pasta.  What I like most about my pasta maker is that it turns the act of making pasta into an annoying job that takes all day and gets good results about 50% of the time, into something I can do while I clean the house.  Or, more realistically, while I watch TV.

The pasta maker itself fits onto my Kitchenaid stand mixer.  I couldn't clean the house while rolling out the pasta, because I need to be there to catch it, but I could watch TV.  Before this, I had a hand cranked pasta roller that sort of half ass attached to the kitchen table and always popped off.  Also, you needed three hands - two to hold the pasta (one on each side) and one to turn the crank.  So Jeff always had to help.  Which is  why he bought me the new one!

So the roller goes onto the end of the stand mixer, and the stand mixer turns it.  All you have to do is feed the dough on one side and out comes pasta on the other side.  It might be magic!

Anyway, the best part is, one pasta recipe makes about 4 servings of pasta - and that's Jeff and me size servings... we eat a lot.  The rest can be frozen, and it comes back very nicely, so if you've got the time (and the pasta maker) you can make a bunch in advance and use it for quick dinners.  Or, if you're one of my friends who complain that my recipes take too long and require a kitchen, you could just buy a box of pasta.  Either way, these are both pretty darn quick to make:

Pasta Recipe:

3 1/2 cups flour (L)
4 large eggs (L)
1 tsp salt
drizzle olive oil
Water if necissary

Combine flour, salt, and eggs in a stand mixer, and mix on slow using the dough hook.  As it is turning, drizzle in olive oil.  Or, if you're extra fancy, use the flour bowl method.  If you don't know what this is, you don't want to do it.  If the pasta is very dry, slowly drizzle in just enough water to get it to come together and form a dough.  Be careful, it takes a while for it to fully incorporate, and you don't want wet pasta.  Allow to mix and kneed for at least 10 minutes.

Allow the dough to sit for 10 more minutes, then divide into four smaller balls.  Each one of these balls will be one serving of pasta.  Roll out pasta depending on your pasta roller's instructions and what kind of pasta you want.  Or, if you do not have a pasta roller, you can roll the pasta out using a rolling pin.  This will be difficult, however, as you want the pasta to be very thin.

These two recipes look very similar, but taste very different!

Spinach Fettuccine Alfredo
(Makes 2 servings)
Total Time: 25 minutes
Active Time: 25 minutes
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp butter (L)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, crushed and minced (L)
  • 1 large handful spinach, washed (L*)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream (L)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (L)
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 servings pasta (L)

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.  Once the water is boiling, add pasta and cook until almost al dente.  Be aware that fresh pasta cooks a lot faster than the dry boxed stuff.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large frying pan.  Saute garlic for a few minutes, until lightly fragrant.  Remove any stems from the spinach, and slice into about 1/2 inch think ribbons.  Add spinach to butter and garlic, and then add cream.  Allow to cook, stirring regularly, until cream just starts to form bubbles around the edges (not boiling or even simmering!!)  Add cheese, and stir until cheese is melted.  Be careful not to overcook or cheese will get stringy.  Grate in nutmeg, then stir in pasta.  Allow everything to warm together, and pasta to finish cooking, about 5 minutes.

Fettuccine with Goat Cheese, Turnip Tops, Mushrooms, and Spicy Sausage
Makes 2 Servings

Active Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes

  • 1 link smoked, spicy sausage - I used Usingers Linguica, but any spicy, smoked sausage would do (L)
  • 1/4 lb mixed mushrooms, chopped (L)
  • 1 large bunch turnip tops, chopped (just the tops.  Save the turnips for later) (L)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half (L)
  • 2-3 oz crumbled goat cheese (L)
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 servings pasta
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.  Add pasta to water and allow to cook until al dente.

Heat a large frying pan.  Thinly slice sausage and add to pan.  Allow to cook until just starting to brown.  Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms just start to brown.  They should still be firm.  Add turnip tops and saute until they are wilted.  Add cream, and cook until hot.  Add cheese and cook, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted.  Add cayenne and stir, then add pasta and stir to combine.

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