JUNE 28 2011


Today I am taking on fresh pasta. I even bought the pasta attachments for my KitchenAid so I am fully invested. Frankies is full of encouragement that fresh pasta really isn't that hard, but I am not convinced. I've made it before and always got angry. But back then I had a hand crank thingy that squeaked and the handle would fall off while I was cranking it. Maybe that was the problem. Maybe it will all be okay.

Step one is to make the pasta dough. Not too hard. Just mix it all in the KitchenAid and chill for an hour. Then I take a look at the recipe for the pasta with fava bean. Wait, what!? I have to make fresh vegetable broth?! This is too much. I almost order a pizza. But first I flip to the blurb about the broth and realize it's actually super easy. Just simmer some chopped veggies (any will do) for 15 minutes then let steep for 30. Okay, calm down, that is totally doable. Pasta is back on! And the veggie broth actually smells quite nice as it simmers.

Time to tackle the fava beans. Did you know the inside of a fava bean pod is fuzzy? I sure didn't. Looks so nice and cozy for those little guys!

Shelled, then blanched, then shelled again from their outer skin, the favas are ready. And hubby won't be home for another hour or so. I decide I could probably pack a couple more recipes into dinner and start flipping through the book. Ooh, a salad made of only arugula and me with a garden full of arugula. It's too good to be true! But it also requires the red wine vinaigrette. So whip that up and it is awesome. Got a little dijon in it and (another thing I would usually skip) two kinds of oil, grapeseed and olive. Right before we eat I toss the arugula with the dressing then sprinkle with shaved pecorino. Done and wowzers it is good!

But back up, first I have to tackle the pasta. Oh boy. Hook up my new equipment and I start rolling. Immediately learn that I have to kind of stretch the dough against the pull of the rollers to keep it from ripping. Okay, I can handle that. But as it gets thinner and thinner and longer and longer I start to loose control of the situation. Flour is going everywhere in a vain attempt to keep it from sticking together and I have nowhere to put down this 6-foot long piece of paper-thin dough. GAH! It stuck together and is totally ruined. I need a new plan. So I drag some dining chairs into the kitchen and drape them with kitchen towels. Now I have somewhere to put the flattened dough.

Start again and am having more success. Hubby arrives and offers help but I'm not sure what he can do except make me a gin and tonic. The kitchen is just too small and I've got a groove going here! Fortified by my refreshing drink, I switch to the cutting wheel and start turning those sheets into long, long linguine. It seems that i rolled the dough a bit too thin and this isn't exactly linguini, but whatever! Bits of dough are flying around the kitchen and there is flour in my hair but I keep going. Finally it's all cut, liberally floured and waiting under a kitchen towel. Deep breath.

When the pasta water is boiling and the garlic is sizzling in the grapeseed oil, I dump the fava beans into the skillet. Next the lovely homemade veggie broth (which is odly colored because I threw some purple cabbage in there when it was simmering) and the even more lovely tomato sauce. Then 2 tablespoons butter? "Is that really necessary" I think as I swirl it in. Pasta cooks in only 3 minutes, then is drained and dumped into the sauce.

Dinner starts NOW before it the pasta gets overcooked and the results of all my efforts turn lackluster. But oh man is it good. I do wish the pasta was a bit thicker but no other complaints. The crunch of the breadcrumbs adds such a nice touch. We lick our plates and devour the entire bowl of salad. Too bad my wine is Trader Joe box wine instead of some amazing pinot noir, but it still goes down smooth. Sated. Happy.

I couldn't help but compare my dish to the photo in the book and I'm pretty impressed! Love the bright green favas sprinkled throughout the sauce.

I am not giving up on fresh pasta (I can't because there are 4 more pasta recipes that require fresh pasta) but I need a little break. The intro to the pasta section does give me permission to use store-bought fresh pasta, but I am not willing to give up that quickly. I think I need to enlist some help though and move the operation onto the dining room table where I can lay everything out full length. Lessons are being learned, and I love it!

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