This post is all about how you can make your own homemade pasta, and why you should do it.
The day I got my pasta machine was a truly liberating moment. As a runner and a gym rat, eating on a budget means being hungry a lot. Which means eating a lot. Which means sometimes when eating on a budget, I simply go without having enough to eat. Truly, there are only so many spoon fulls of peanut butter, stacks of pancakes, and bowls of rice and beans one can eat.
When I had the money, I would splurge on organic Annie’s mac and cheese. However, the fully organic versions (the normal one only has organic cheese) can run up to $4 per box. Buying bulk organic pasta was not much better, at $5 per box of linguini. But, you say, I can find organic pasta for $3 a box! To that I say, did you read the box? That stuff is from Italy. I, for one, do not think I should be paying some person in Italy to make cheap pasta for me.
I didn’t think it was going to be easy. I thought making homemade pasta was going to be a time consuming battle, the p3bg versus this strange contraption known as a pasta roller. Magically, it was not. Using organic high performance flour (makes things easier) I found a kneaded dough of a consistency I didn’t even know was possible. After about 10 minutes of pounding the stuff, I got a dough that was not sticky… and almost silky. It was soft, and shiny, and glided through the pasta roller with ease. When cooked, it resulted in a more flavorful pasta then I had before, with a much more chewy and… somehow of a much more real consistency. Furthermore, it only took about 45 minutes to make, 30 of those minutes being “let the gluten relax time.” Dinners usually take about 45 minutes to prepare anyway, so why not just make your own pasta? Not only is it impressive, but it is incredibly cheap, and when feeding a lot of people there is no better alternative.
Did I mention that with a little bit of olive oil or butter, the stuff freezes too? I like to make a batch over the weekend, and then freeze the plain noodles. When hunger strikes, I sauté up some garlic, nuke the frozen pasta, and then toss it in the garlic with some fresh kale or collard greens. Total time, about 15 minutes.
My favorite pasta recipe is from The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila. It is just 2 cups gluten flour and 3 large eggs. That is it! So simple! Mix, knead, put in your pasta roller (or just cut it how you want it) and hang to dry for 5 minutes to two hours. Boil until done, about 2-5 minutes. Enjoy!
Tips for good homemade pasta:
- Actually knead the dough for 15 minutes. Seriously. You won’t regret it.
- Don’t buy a pasta drying wrack. Clothes hangers work just as well.
- Buy a pasta mat. Not only is this good so while kneading your pasta doesn’t stick to your kitchen counter, but it is good for bread, breadsticks, ravioli, pizza…. You name it! Plus, it makes clean up a breeze.
- If you don’t want to spend over an hour making it, use the thick noodle setting. The thin noodles are fancy, but somehow this takes a 30 minute process and makes it into an hour plus process. Probably all the time it takes to hang up each individual angel hair thin noodle.
This week in updates: Living with Nights and Valentine’s Day
This week has been exhausting, as my first real week on nights. Being a morning person who likes to wake up at 3am, going to bed at 2am is almost complete reverse cycle. Given, I have worked worse. The 10pm to 8am shift I used to run as a Wisconsin State Fair security guard left me almost completely sleepless. I can sleep from 2am-10am, though I wake up groggy and disoriented. Sleeping starting at 9am? Well, let’s just say I didn’t really sleep. The work is good though, and fun, and the MMA might come in handy given I’m riding my bike home 12 miles at 2am. However, so far so good.
My triumph has been keeping secret from Jesse the fact that I was surprising him for Valentine’s Day. Early in the morning Saturday, I took a bus to the airport in a red dress with some killer heals stuffed in my backpack. Jesse’s mom was my co-plotter, and she picked me up full of ideas as to how to best complete the surprise. Jesse was feeling blue due to the fact that I hadn’t texted him when I woke up. Little did he know, right? The surprise left him almost giddily giggly. For Valentine’s Day, we are cooking up a meal together. Thinking something to do with home made portabella fritters and aioli. Ice cream, of course, for dessert.
The Recipe: Butternut Sage Mac and Cheese
This recipe was inspired by the Brokeass Gourmet Cookbook‘s brown butter pumpkin mac and cheese. What you can do with pumpkin, you can do with squash right? I followed her recipe, and oh my god it was fantastic! This was a new spin, and tasted just as good. Plus, it is healthy (what a great way to eat veggies!) and it is cheap to make given you only need a little of a very flavorful white cheese. It is especially cheap if you make your own pasta!
1 cooked recipe pasta (as described above) or one box pasta
1/2 can pureed butternut squash
1 cup shredded flavorful cheese, I like pecorino romano
1 tsp ground sage
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk or soymilk (I used soy, as that what I had around, and it still was great!)
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Put butter into a pan over medium heat. When it starts to brown (and smell wonderful!) toss in the two tablespoons of flour. Whisk until you get a sticky dough, then add the milk. You will get a creamy white sauce. Add the squash and the sage. Add the cheese and mix over the heat until the cheese melts. Mix with pasta, then salt and pepper to taste. Serve.