Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day Three - Pasta from scratch for Pasta alla Norma

After a long night of soothing my son's nightmares and feeding a hungry baby.  I had to get up for a Dr.'s appointment for 9:20 am.  I'm sure I only slept for 2 hours.

I made it to my appointment on time, but was too tired and cold to run around hunting for new ingredients.  However, I was determined to get a least one recipe completed from Maxine Clark's Italian Kitchen. 

My genius plan was to make do with what I had. Which meant making my own pasta for the spaghetti with eggplant and tomato sauce (pasta alla norma) since we didn't have spaghetti in the house.  Can you believe spaghetti.  I have 50 different pasta's in the house and no spaghetti.  At least I was able to complete two recipes instead of just one.

After feeling a bit defeated, I tried the recipe for basic pasta dough.  I've made fresh pasta many times.  Do you know there are as many, if not more pasta dough recipes as there are ways to leave your lover.   Some with oil, some with water.  Others with as many as 9 eggs (called rich mans pasta) to as little as 2 eggs (poor mans pasta).  The recipe in this book had me very worried.  After mixing and kneading the dough, the dough was very dry,  unlike the silky smooth product that feels like a babies butt, which I'm use to.  But I kept my hopes up and let the dough rest for the 30 minutes the book called for.  The dough was smoother, but still dry.  I'm use to rolling the dough out by hand instead of dragging out my pasta maker.  This dough wasn't having any of that.  It wanted to be messaged from position 1 to 9 in the pasta maker.  So I dusted my machine off and you know what.  It worked like a charm.  I finally ran my pampered dough through the spaghetti attachment and et voila there it was SPAGHETTI!!!!

I completed the pasta alla norma which turned out nicely.  Again, it was tasty, but I felt like it needed something more.  Black Olives, hot red peppers, anything to pump up the flavor just a bit more.  My husband liked it, but I wasn't hearing any Hmmmmmm  from his side of the table.

The Spaghetti it self was nice!.  I could have eaten it with just butter and parmesan cheese.

A few notes for the cooking novice.
  • When the recipe calls for you to dip the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds. You'll need to cut a small shallow X at the bottom of the tomato, otherwise it will take forever to get the skin off.
  • Ensure that your oil is nice and hot when you are cooking the eggplant otherwise the eggplant ends up swimming in oil.

The Cook Book Addict