Everyone has their own comfort food. Mine is fresh pasta in a tomato sauce. There is just something about making pasta on Sunday’s that bring me back to my childhood. It was a Sunday staple in my parents house growing up and now it is a Sunday staple in mine. I try to make different styles of pasta sometimes with my pasta maker and sometimes rustic – just rolling out the dough and cutting it into shapes like ravioli or fettuccine. Last Sunday I made a rustic version of fusilli. There is something therapeutic about making and kneading dough that I simply enjoy.
Here is what you will need:
- Pasta dough:
- 2 cups of all purpose
- 1 1/2 cups of semolina flour
- 5 eggs
- 3 tbs of cold water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup EVOO.
- Tomato sauce:
- 1 (32 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup of EVOO
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk finely chopped
- 1 carrot peeled and finely chopped
- 1 dried bay leaf
- Fresh basil
- Dried oregano
- Fresh or dried thyme
- 1/4 cup red wine
- Small piece of pork shoulder to taste (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
How to make the pasta dough and sauce:
- Pasta dough: In a bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, place both flours in the bowl of the electric mixer and whisk together to blend. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, water, salt and EVOO. While the mixer is running on low speed (no higher than speed 2) add in the egg mixture and mix until a dough forms a ball like shape.
On a lightly dusted flour surface need the dough for 2 to 3 minuted until a smooth and stretchy. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 3 minutes.
Working in small batches of dough you can either roll out the dough and cut into desired shapes.
If using a traditional pasta machine, cut the dough into quarters and work with 1 quarter at a time. Start on the lasagna setting and roll dough through the machine until a thin sheet forms and then roll through the desired spaghetti/fettuccine setting.
If using a pasta machine like a Kitchen aid, follow machine instructions for the different pasta settings.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt for flavour. Place fresh pasta in the boiling water and give the pot a gentle twist to loosen the pasta so it won’t stick. You can also stir it gently with a wooden spoon. When cooking fresh pasta, it is important to remember it tends to cook a lot faster then dried pasta. Pasta is typically done when it starts to float to the surface of the pot.
- Pasta sauce: In a large pot, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper, pork shoulder if using and red wine. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, basil, oregano, thyme, and fill the empty tomato can with water and add to the mixture and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, approximately 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme stems if using fresh thyme. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste.
The sauce can be made ahead of time, just rewarm over medium heat before using.
I like to add a piece of pork shoulder to my sauce for flavour. My mom use to do it and I find that the pork gives this nice silky sweet taste. By all means, you do not have to use it the sauce will taste fantastic without it, that is why I made it optional in the recipe.
I hope this recipe inspires you to be creative in the kitchen – enjoy!
3 thoughts on “The comfort of pasta”
I’ve always been intimidated to try making my own pasta, but you make it sound so easy!
Hi Julie, I was intimidated at first but it really is easy and you will ask yourself why didn’t I try this before.
For me the trick was to get the right consistency and thickness of noodle, so if you need to add a bit more flour or water add a little bit at a time. Also be sure to roll the dough thinner so that when it is cooked it doesn’t feel heavy. Play with it and see how it goes. If you have any questions, I am always here. Good luck!
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