Monday, September 08, 2008

Fresh Pasta Rectangles or Squares (Page 230)


  • Sunday, August 31, 2008 -- 7pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Dining Companions: Mike M, Teresa, Paul K, Lauren K, and Beth
  • Recipe Rating: A-

I was looking for a vegetarian entree in The Book for our dinner party a couple weekends ago. The vegetarian options are limited, but there was a stuffed pasta dish that seemed promising. Matty had never made homemade pasta before, so I taught him how and he helped me out. This was a pretty standard fresh pasta dough: cake flour, all-purpose flour, salt, egg yolks, olive oil, and water. The ingredients got mixed together in a food processor and then kneaded by hand for 8 minutes. After letting the dough rest for an hour Matty and I sectioned it and put it through the pasta machine, using the typical technique of starting with the widest setting and slowly working down to the desired thickness. We then cut it into 6 by 4 inch rectangles that were ready to be filled. This recipe produced a nice pasta dough that was easy to work with, and tasted quite good. In the end, I wasn't terribly happy with the stuffed pasta we made, but it wasn't the fault of this component of the recipe. The one odd thing about this recipe was that it instructed you to keep making the pasta thinner until you reached the second-narrowest setting on the pasta machine. To make pasta I use the pasta maker attachment to the KitchenAid stand mixer, which I would dare say is a fairly standard thing to use. Yet the second-narrowest setting on that machine, was WAY too thin. And it was certainly not the thickness the recipe intended because it made pasta sheets much, much larger than The Book indicated it would. It was the 4th narrowest setting on my machine that worked best, and I am sure it varies a bit machine to machine. But I wouldn't recommend blindly following the recipe on that point. Other than that, this recipe was a solid one, and Matty and I had a fun time making pasta together.

Here is the recipe.

Ah, Monday. I was a little less refreshed than usual when I started my day this morning, since I spent the vast majority of the weekend in my office. The upside of that is that I did manage to start my week more caught up than I would have been had I had a more relaxing weekend. I was trying to be diligent over the weekend because the next couple weeks are going to be a little crazy. For one thing, on Friday my special gentleman and I are celebrating two years together. We planned various fun activities to mark this special day. On Wednesday he is taking me out for a fancy dinner at my favorite restaurant in town. Then on Friday after I teach my classes we are headed to Northern Ohio for the weekend. I planned a little getaway for us to Cedar Point, my special gentleman's most favorite amusement park. I have never been there, but he tells me the rides are amazing, and I am looking forward to it. We went to a much lesser amusement park together about a year ago, and had such a fun day, so this should be great! I am so swamped with work that we talked briefly about canceling out trip, but I think we should go. Two happy years together is a big thing, and I firmly believe that such occasions should be marked with celebration. Our relationship is healthy and strong, and that is worth honoring. So we are headed to Cedar Point this coming weekend. We will drive back Sunday afternoon, then I will teach my classes Monday and fly to California on Monday afternoon so I can give a seminar at Berkeley on Wednesday! Crazy, I know. Going out to California will exhausting but great because I will get to see Chris, Emilee, Brian, and of course: baby Sam! Then on Thursday, back home to Indiana so that I can teach my Friday classes!

In the meantime I am working hard to get as much done as possible before the craziness sets in!


The Mediocre Cook said...

I really want to try to make fresh pasta. It sounds so easy but for some reason I hesitate. Do you recommend the pasta attachment for the KitchenAid stand mixer?

Anonymous said...

that dish looks way too delicious for a B-
I would like to take this opportunity to commend Teena's culinary photography skills, which make any dieter or anorexic rethink the subject of food:)

Anonymous said...

not that I mean to offend any dieter by lumping them in the anorexic category, or mock any anorexic with regard to what is a very serious issue.
Sensitivity is not my forte

--the above anon

Anonymous said...

The dish I was referring to was the spinach and cheese canneloni

--the above anon, again

Teena said...

Mediocre cook: If you have a KitchenAid, then the pasta attachment is a great way to make pasta. You can also buy a non-motorized hand crank to make pasta, but then it is much easier with a second person around to help, or you will run out of hands!

Anon: Sadly, it didn't taste quite as good as it looked!