Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fresh Pasta! The bestest kind of pasta ever!

To me, there's not much more satisfying than a simple - and ultra-flavourful - pasta dish made with your own fresh pasta. Making it is actually quite easy; it takes a bit of practice but anyone can do it. If you're not feeling adventurous to try it for the first time all by yourself, there are lots of videos on YouTube you can watch, or sign up for a pasta cooking class at a local cooking school. You don't have to make an investment in a pasta machine (either hand-crank, or a pasta attachment for a Kitchen Aid mixer); if you want to do it old school like the nonnas did, you can roll out your dough with a rolling pin. Plus, if you screw it up, it's inexpensive to make another batch of dough. So go on and try it! I promise the rewards are totally worth it.

Barbara Lynch's Bolognese

I've made this bolognese, from Barbara Lynch's Stir cookbook, a number of times. I was also fortunate enough to have this dish at one of the chef's restaurants in Boston, Sportello (I also ate at another of her restaurants, No. 9 Park, which was one of the best meals I've had in my life). Watching them make it at the restaurant, the pasta and sauce are obviously both made earlier in the day, but as they construct your dish, in goes a nob of butter and a handful of Parmesan, followed by a final topping of parm before it's served to you. It's like meat butter, and it's fabulous. Both my mother and I had the dish, and if our bellies would have allowed, the bowl would never have ended. This recipe takes the better part of a day to make, so start it early. The active part is probably only 1 hour (after which you can leave it to do its magic), but it needs to (and wants to) simmer most of the day. Trust me - your dinner mates will thank you for it. No short-cuts.