If you’re looking to throw around a little flour this weekend, try your hand at homemade pasta. You don’t even need a pasta machine! Food Network Magazine has a great new recipe for Cavatelli with Asparagus. Of course, I didn’t stick to the WHOLE recipe (as usual), but I followed the beginning of the pasta directions step-by-step, and the result was an amazing dish that we’ll go back to again and again.
In a bowl I combined 8 ounces fresh ricotta cheese (1 heaping cup) and 1 large egg. Then put two cups of flour in a largish bowl and made a well in the middle, dumped in the ricotta mixture and folded over and over and stirred and combined until I got something that looks like that (above).
Then I dumped the mixture onto a floured surface and kneaded for 6 minutes until it came together and became “smooth and elastic”. I wrapped it up in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes while I cleaned up a little and cooked up some sliced chicken and apple sausage and asparagus in 2 TBSP olive oil and a little salt and pepper and lemon zest.
My child decided to join in on the fun. I flattened the dough out into a disk and cut into 8 pieces (think cutting a pie), then we took each slice and rolled it out in 1/2 inch thick snake and cut 1/2 inch pieces off. It resembled gnocchi at this point.
Then we mushed each piece in the middle with our finger. Then, as the instructions told us to do, we used a knife and folded the pasta around the flat side. We abandoned this after a while and began sort of just rolling the pasta in on itself. Because we strayed from instructions, I didn’t put the cavatelli on a floured baking sheet as it was being cut and mushed and rolled, so it did not get coated with the light flour like it should have according to the directions.
The problem with not following ALL of the directions? All that beautiful pasta was stuck together, so I had to separate every single piece and drop it into the salted boiling water. (I splashed myself repeatedly because I’m totally awkward in the kitchen.)
Isn’t that cool looking (precooked) pasta? I’d love to make a whole bunch and freeze it. And I can’t wait to experiment with putting Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs in the dough. Cooking it is a cinch: throw the prepared pasta in a pot and boil for 5 or so minutes. Drain. I tossed it in the pan with my sausage and asparagus and then stirred in about 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. This was the result:
You have to make this stuff. It was freaking awesome with my Cupcake Sauvignon Blanc. And was still great again leftover the next night! I wish there was more…