adventures with fresh pasta

fresh pasta

I love fresh pasta. It is light and soft but with a pleasing elasticity that holds it together and gives it some body. It is a completely different experience to eating dried pasta. Both are great, neither is superior to the other. They are just different.

When I bought my new Kitchen Aid mixer recently, I also bought a pasta roller attachment. Today was the first time I’d had a chance to try it out. It is far easier than rolling by hand, and it solves the problem of needing three hands – one to turn the handle, one to feed the pasta in and another to catch it!

kitchenaid with pasta roller

Most fresh pasta recipes call for eggs to be used. Clearly that wasn’t an option, so I did a bit of hunting on the internet and discovered that fresh pasta in the region of Puglia (the heel of the Italian boot) and other parts of southern Italy and Sardinia is not made with eggs, but just flour, water and sometimes oil.

Making fresh pasta is a messy business, my kitchen was covered in flour, but I think it is worth it. My first attempt was pretty good, though it looked a little pale and ghostly when it was cooked because there was no yellow colour from the egg. Apart from that the dough was great, even though I had rolled it a bit too thinly and slightly overcooked it in the blink of an eye.

The other half of the batch I rolled slightly thicker and watched it eagle-eyed as it cooked, wary of leaving it too long. Perfection.

I tossed it in a sauce I had simmering. It was made of olive oil, garlic, basil, zucchini and chopped fresh tomatoes from the garden, cooked until just softened and topped with some grated Vegusto Piquant. The sauce looks a strange brown colour because it is made from a mix of red, yellow, black and green tomatoes.

fresh pasta with tomato sauce

Next up I will be trying the fresh pasta in a lasagna and I’ll also have a go at colouring it with spinach and beetroot.

Stay tuned!

 

fresh pasta
 
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author:
recipe type: vegan
cuisine: Italian
serves: 2-3
ingredients
  • 190 grams of flour - a high protein specialty pasta flour works best, usually marked 00
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 70 mls of water
  • a pinch of salt
  • extra flour for dusting
instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together until they form a soft but not sticky ball. (I used the dough hook on my mixer, but you could do it in a food processor, or by hand.
  2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Divide the dough into two parts.
  4. Roll the dough starting at the thickest setting.
  5. Fold the dough into 4 lengthwise and rotate 90 degrees before putting the dough through again.
  6. Do this 3 or 4 times until the dough is coming out smoothly.
  7. Pass the dough through the roller adjusting the thickness on each pass until it is how you like it. I used the setting number 4 on my dough roller for the final pass.
  8. Dust with flour, fold in 4 lengthways, rotate 90 degrees and hand cut across the width. I cut mine about 1 cm so they were probably either narrow pappardelle or wide fettucine!
  9. Cook in LOTS of boiling salted water. Don't skimp on the pan size or it is likely to stick together. The pasta takes very little time to cook, I bring mine back to the boil and count to 10 then taste to see.

 

lunch with friends – the great souvlaki taste off

souvlaki

Last weekend I headed out of Melbourne to Kyneton to have lunch with some friends. We ate the most delicious food. We sat out in the garden underneath a beautiful large tree. Underneath the table, the chooks clucked and the dogs lounged, both of them hopeful for dropped morsels.

The lunch had been suggested months ago when I reviewed the Smith & Deli souvlaki. Jokingly (or perhaps not) a new friend who I had met at a party recently suggested I had to try hers. So months later, here we were assembled for the great souvlaki taste off.

Since then, she has opened a vegan food service called Mrs Monagle’s Ethical Fine Food.

This post was never intended to be a review of the business, but since I’ve tasted the food, I feel like people need to know about it. This is great vegan food.

I am happy to recommend her food based on my lunch as well as the food I ate at the party previously.

souvlaki ingredients

The souvlaki were delicious, served DIY style in pita with almond feta, tomatoes, salad and vegan tzatziki. It is a hard call as to the winning souvlaki, so I think I’m going to wimp out and call it a tie. They are equal but different.

I’m very fussy about my seitan and I think the texture on this one was utterly perfect and definitely the winner. Soft, chewy and crunchy all at the same time. And while it was deliciously seasoned, I’d probably give the edge to the S&D one for the chilli hit.  I’m being picky and being forced to critique them though. I’d happily eat both any time. Even on the same day.

We also had delicious vanilla slices with proper traditional passionfruit icing and HOT JAM DONUTS! Sorry for shouting but they were sensational. Call me a glutton, I ate three. I fear if there had been more I would have eaten them too! :)

A lovely day with friends.

 

Mrs Monagle’s Ethical Fine Food
https://www.facebook.com/1ethicalfinefood/

 

marcella hazan’s boiled zucchini salad

boiled zucchini salad

Yes, in the blink of an eye, they are back. The zucchini are here and I need to find ways of using them. So here it is,  the first zucchini recipe of summer 2016.

The name of this salad is totally unpromising, BOILED zucchini salad. But trust me it is good. Normally i wouldn’t have given it a second look, but the recipe is from the opinionated Queen of Italian cooking, Marcella Hazan, now sadly gone. I’ve never made a recipe of hers that was a failure. My sister had also been singing its praises.

This is a simple salad of steamed zucchini, dressed with garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and parsley  I made it with some different shaped zucchini I had. Some of them were a bit larger than ideal, but it was still good. It is soft and creamy, with a zippiness from the vinegar that raises it above the ordinary.

It is the time to get out your best oil, vinegar and salt because it depends completely on the ingredients.

It is a “definitely more than the sum of its parts” dish. Great with just some fresh crunchy bread.

 

marcella hazan's boiled zucchini salad
 
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author:
recipe type: salad
cuisine: vegan, italian
serves: 4
ingredients
  • 4 small zucchini
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic crushed to a paste
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chopped flat leaf parsley
instructions
  1. Steam the zucchini until very tender. They need to be soft so they just hold together.
  2. Cut in half lengthways and remove the top and bottom and place on a plate.
  3. Smear the cut surfaces with the garlic.
  4. Tilt the plate so any excess liquid runs off.
  5. After the zucchini has drained, drizzle it with olive oil, sprinkle with red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and chopped parsley.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning. I like mine with plenty of tang from the red wine.
notes
My garlic in the photo of the recipe is a bit too coarse, it is better if it is a paste, unless you like chomping into chunks of garlic.

 

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