Saturday, February 28, 2009

And now for something COMPLETELY different

Tonight's Menu

  • grilled mild Italian sausages
  • homemade egg noodles
  • buttery green cabbage
Dudes! I made homemade pasta for the first time ever! I am a little excited about it, so we're going to have to discuss it first, if you don't mind. I've been wanting a manual pasta machine for AGES and I finally got one last week. It's a really cheap-ass model, which may have been a mistake, but oh well. Homemade pasta! It's all good!

I used a recipe from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything. It was super easy: just combine two cups of all-purpose flour (I used unbleached), one teaspoon of salt (I used fine sea salt) and three eggs in a food processor until it forms a ball. Knead until smooth, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour. Then divide the dough into 4-6 pieces and work these pieces through your pasta machine one at a time until they're as thin as you want them. Cut into shapes, dry, then boil in salted water for 3-5 minutes. Easy, right?

WRONG, if you have a crappy pasta machine, which I apparently do. The first batch was a disaster -- it stuck to the rollers and made a godawful mess. Eventually I got the hang of it but it required adding a LOT of flour to the dough and I was worried that the end result would be super tough noodles. I pressed on, though -- making about five pasta sheets, cutting them into 5- to 6-inch lengths and then cutting those into 1/4-inch strips. I was going for a basic egg noodle kind of thing. I shook off all the excess flour I could and then spread them on my kitchen counter to dry for about an hour before cooking.

They actually came out really good! They were super tasty and the kids both had seconds. Next time I'll roll them a little thinner -- I was so aggravated by the sticky roller issue that I only did them to number 4 on the dial, and they thickened a bit while cooking, so the end result was vaguely dumpling-like. But still very tasty! Not bad for a first effort, I think. I'm excited about experimenting with this!

I cooked the sausages inside because it was WICKED windy/chilly outside today. First I simmered them in water for 15 minutes, as usual, then I browned them off on my beloved IKEA grill pan. You can just brown them in a skillet if you don't have a grill pan, or broil them in the oven until the skins are nice and crispy.

For the cabbage, I chopped half a head of green cabbage and sauteed it in a skillet with three tablespoons of butter. I had the heat up fairly high because I wanted the cabbage to caramelize and pick up some color. When it was just the way I wanted it, I seasoned it with salt and pepper, turned off the heat, and kept it covered until serving time. It was tender, buttery and delicious! I loves me some cabbage, y'all.

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