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I eat a lot of pasta, almost enough to rival any Italian. It is my comfort food and always leaves my belly happy and full. My go to p...


October 08, 2014

I eat a lot of pasta, almost enough to rival any Italian. It is my comfort food and always leaves my belly happy and full. My go to pasta is my homemade tomato sauce with spaghetti, a classic and one of James' favourites. But since I am trying to brush up on my culinary skills, I thought this week I would try and make my own pasta and a new recipe in the kitchen.

Two years ago my in-laws got me a pasta maker for Christmas, and after one attempt at using it, it went right back into the box. It wasn't that homemade pasta is hard to make, it's that it is very time consuming. Why spend two hours making your own pasta, when you can buy it and prepare in under ten minutes? Is what I thought. Now that I am two years older and two years wiser, I want to give it another chance. So yesterday I did just that, I prepared a pasta dish entirely from scratch and let me tell you, I have never been prouder. Yes, it still took me two plus hours to prepare, but the result was so delicious that all my efforts were worth it. I hope this recipe inspires you to make your own pasta at home, I promise it won't disappoint!

If you are a newbie (like me) at making pasta then you have to pick up The Pasta Book (Williams-Sonoma) by Julia Della Croce. It has the ultimate collection of any and every pasta, noodle and dumpling recipe you could imagine. What I love is the step by step pasta making instructions both by machine and by hand. The instructions are basically pasta making for dummies, if you follow it perfectly, you can't go wrong.

Making Pasta Dough By Hand
For strand pasta

Makes: 1 lb | 500 g


2 1/2 cups | 390 g unbleached all-purpose or "00" flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoon olive oil


1. Make a well.
Measure the flour onto a work surface, mix in salt, and shape the flour into a mound. Using your 
fingertips, make a well in the centre.

2. Add the eggs and oil.

Break the eggs into the centre of the well and the oil. Using a fork, beat until the eggs and oil are blended, making sure the liquid doesn't breach the walls of the well.

3. Draw in the flour.

Using the fork, gradually draw the flour from the sides of the well into the egg mixture and beat 
gently, always in the same direction, to combine the flour with the liquid. Secure the wall of the well with your other hand until the liquid has absorbed enough flour that it won't flow over the 

4. Use your hands.

When the mixture is too stiff to use the fork, begin using both hands, gradually drawing in the
from the bottom of the wall, until you have a soft, moist, but not sticky ball of dough. If the 
dough will not absorb more flour without becoming stiff, don't use it all. If it is too soft, add more 
flour, a spoonful at a time.

5. Knead the dough.

Clean the work surface, dust it lightly with flour, and flatten the ball of dough into a disk. Using 
the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate quarter turn, and repeat the kneading motion. After about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic.

6. Let the dough rest.

Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl, and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll. Do not let it rest 
longer or it will be too dry.

Rolling and Cutting Pasta Dough By Machine

1. Set up the machine.
Set up the pasta machine according to the manufacturer's directions. Set the rollers at the widest setting and dust with flour to prevent sticking. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and slip 3
pieces back under the bowl. 

2. Knead the dough.
Flatten the remaining piece into a disk and dust with flour. Turning the crank, feed the dough 
through the rollers. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter. Lightly flour both sides and feed it  
through again; this process further kneads the dough. Repeat the folding and rolling twice,
dusting with flour as needed.

3. Roll out the dough
Narrow the rollers to the next notch, dust the dough with flour, and pass it through the rollers again. Catch the sheet with your hand and carefully guide it onto the work surface. Narrow the
rollers to the next notch and feed the dough through again. If the dough tears, start again at the
widest setting.

4. Roll out thinner. 
Continue in this fashion, dusting with flour and repairing holes as needed. For tagliatelle, taglierini, pappardelle, maltagliati, all stuffed pastas, cannelloni, and lasagna, end with the
narrowest setting (1/32 inch/1mm). For fettuccine and trenette, stop at the second-to-last notch (1/16 inch/2 mm).

5. Cut into sections.
At the end of rolling, you will have a long, smooth sheet 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) wide from each 
of the 4 pieces of dough. To cut pasta sheets into strands, place the rolled-out sheet flat on a
clean work surface and cut it crosswise into 14-inch (35-cm) lengths.

6. Cut into strands with machine. Fasten the machine's cutting attachment and insert the crank. Most standard cutters have two widths, 1/4 inch (6 mm) for fettuccine/tagliatelle and 1/16 inch (2 mm) for taglierini. Feed the pasta sheets through the desired blade and catch gently.
Cut into strands by hand.
On a lightly floured surface, starting on a short side, roll up a pasta sheet into a loose, flat cylinder. 
Using a knife, cut the cylinder crosswise to create strands. To make fettuccine and tagliatelle, cut at about 1/4-inch (6mm) intervals. For pappardelle, cut at 3/4-1 inch (2-2.5 cm) intervals. Gently shake out the noodles to separate them.

James brought home a butternut squash last week and I was really stumped about what to do with it. After racking my brain for a few days I remembered when I was in Toronto, my friends Craig and Julie made a delicious pasta with roasted butternut squash in a brown butter sauce for dinner. We couldn't get over how tasty it was and how well squash pairs with pasta. So I asked Julie for the ingredients, stored them on a little shelf in my brain and adapted it to make my own recipe. This is the perfect dish for Autumn and or for anytime you need some comfort food.

Fresh Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash in a Brown Butter, Sage Sauce

prep time: 15 minutes (not including preparing fresh pasta)
cooking time: 1 hour
makes: 4 servings

1 whole butternut squash
3 tablespoons olive oil 
Half an onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 stick of butter
2 dozen sage leaves
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon brown or cane sugar
Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 450°F | 230°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with the olive oil. Cut the squash in half (vertical) and place cut side down onto baking sheet. Place baking
sheet in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until skin is browned and squash is soft.

2. Remove squash from your oven and let cool completely. On medium heat begin to melt butter in a
pan, but be careful not to burn. Add garlic, onions, sage, sugar and cinnamon and cook until onions
are soft.

3. Bring a large pot of water (5 l) to a boil. Add a teaspoon of salt and some olive oil to help keep fresh pasta from sticking. When water has boiled add your fresh pasta and cover the pot. When water returns to a boil, uncover, cook for 5 seconds and drain.

4. Peel skin off of the cooked squash and cut into medium sized pieces. Add squash into butter sauce
and add the parmesan, pepper and salt to taste. Gently add cooked pasta into the sauce, and mix the squash and pasta carefully.

5. Serve pasta hot and top with grated parmesan cheese.

6. Enjoy!

Fresh pasta recipe from The Pasta Book (Williams-Sonoma) by Julia Della Croce.

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