Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Homemade Pasta

It took me four tries to really get this recipe to a point where I felt comfortable sharing it. If you have a KitchenAid mixer, now is the time to enjoy how simple it makes life. My Mom told me that my Grandmother used to make hand cut noodles all the time and that her ratio was always 1 cup of flour to 1 egg. I figure grandmothers and mothers know best, so I gave it a try.

Homemade Pasta

-3 cups all purpose white flour
-1 cup semolina flour
-4 eggs
-1 tsp salt
-water, as needed

Sift together flours and salt into the mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time while mixing on medium speed. It should take about 3 minutes until the mixture is well blended. Add water, a little at a time until the ball is damp, but not soaking wet. Remove ball of dough and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Take dough out and cut into 4 pieces, that are approximately the same size. Place 3 pieces back in plastic wrap to keep it moist. Lightly flour your workspace and begin to roll dough out until it's thin enough to see light through. Note: My Mom has a dough board and I rolled it until I could see the wood grain coming through the dough. Feel free to keep patting flour on the dough until you get it rolled out to the sufficient thickness. I flipped the dough a few times while I rolled it out, which seemed to help achieve an even thinness throughout the piece. Once dough is rolled out, cut off rough edges to get a rectangle. This doesn't need to be perfect, just approximate. Once you have the rectangle, flour the dough one more time, lightly. Fold the dough over four or five times. Now slice the noodles to your desired thickness.

One you are done slicing the folded dough, unfold the noodles and lay on a dish rag to dry while you repeat the process to the other 3 pieces of dough. If you only want to use a single portion, make sure the dough is wrapped tightly and store in the refrigerator overnight. Once you have all the noodles prepared, boil a large pot of salted water. Place noodles in and boil for about 7 minutes. They should be floating; don't forget to test one before you strain the whole pot. Top with your favorite sauce or throw them in a skillet with the other ingredients to mix well and enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Homemade Ricotta

After all our bellies were stuffed and the dishes were done this weekend, I found myself back in the kitchen. My Mom has the best kitchen and I always love cooking when I visit. She had the new Barefoot Contessa cookbook, How Easy is That?, so we tried our hand at homemade ricotta cheese. It was delicious and so easy to make. Here's the recipe:

Homemade Ricotta
-adapted from How Easy it That

-1 quart whole milk
-2 cups cream
-1 teaspoon salt
-3 tablespoons white vinegar

Mix together salt, milk and cream in a non-reactive pot (stainless steel or enamel). Bring to boil, careful not to burn the ingredients. Remove from heat and add vinegar. Mixture should start to curdle immediately. After a few minutes, pour the mixture into a fine mesh strainer with several layers of cheese cloth and strain into a bowl for 30-40 minutes. Enjoy immediately or keep leftovers in the fridge for about 5 days.

Tip: My Mom had a really thin dish cloth, like a handkerchief, that we used instead of cheese cloth which worked out well. Don't go to the store to buy cheese cloth just for this recipe; you probably have something you can use and throw in the wash!