Thursday, October 27, 2011

An Italian Ukie

I’m in LOVE.  YUP.. I said it… L-O-V-E.   Last Christmas.. my special someone…  purchased me the perfect accessory for "my" kitchen….  Kitchenaid’s – 90th Anniversary Edition – CANDY APPLE RED – with a GLASS BOWL - Stand mixer… **sigh**  At the time.. I was like.. could it get any better?!  WELL.. it did.  That same special someone.. bought me the pasta maker attachment package!  -dough roller, fettuccini, and spaghetti  cutters.  **sigh**


Of Course, I have to play.  At first – your basic fettuccini. If you’ve never had fresh made pasta, you have got to try this!! Using the mixer, and the pasta roller / cutter attachments, in about the time it takes to make the sauce, boil the water, and toss a salad... you can have fresh pasta all ready to toss into the pot.   Any extra cut pasta noodles, wrap into loose “nests” and freeze.  1 batch of dough made enough fettuchini for about 4 healthy servings and then some.  Of course, I had to take it to the next level, and ravioli was the next logical step.  Digging through the fridge and freezer, I ended up with 2 fillings.  Spinach and Ricotta as well as Spicy Italian Sausage – YUM YUM … 
Basic Dough Recipe (gotta love google & Masterchef!) 
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
Using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, place all flour into the bowl, and pour eggs in slowly why the hook was on the low speed.  Increase to a medium speed for a few minutes, until all combined, and dough ball forms on the hook.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, knead dough until most of the “crumbly” dough is incorporated into a smooth mound.  (don't get frustrated... I find pasta dough to be quite stubborn and tough) Wet your hand with a little bit of water to help with forming the dough from the crumb balls if required. 
Dough can/will be stiff – and can be difficult to knead. 
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for at least 20 minutes.  This allows the gluten to form.
From there… use your imagination!

New favorite kitchen gadget!
If you are proceeding to roll by hand be prepared for an arm workout. Make sure to roll it as thin as possible!  Using the pasta roller attachment, and working with small disks of dough, knead your way through the roller settings to prep for cutting pasta into noodles – or, working through the roller settings to desired thickness– I made ravioli. (Use egg whites as your “glue” for the ravioli layers)

yes yes.. little "rough" round the edges.. but it was my first shot at it!
mmmmmmmmm YUM YUM
Keep the dough covered when not in use – and whatever left over pasta you make… cover and freeze – use cookie sheets and lay flat until frozen (then you can transfer to ziplock freezer bags).  Once you have the homemade stuff – it’ll be difficult to go back to “store made”!    Enjoy!
Spinach & Ricotta Filling
  • Medium container of ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • 1lb fresh, chopped spinach
  • ½ cup finely diced onions
  • 2 cloves, minced garlic (fresh is best!)
  • 1 egg
  • Salt / pepper to taste
In a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add onion, garlic with a tablespoon olive oil to pan.  Stir frequently for about 2-3 mins, or until onion is almost clear in colour.  

In a medium sized bowl, add ricotta, parmigiano reggiano, 1 egg, and mix.  Pour in cooked onion / garlic.
In same frying pan, add 2 tablespoons water, as well as chopped spinach, wilt spinach over medium heat stirring frequently.
Remove wilted spinach, place on chopping board and let cool. Using a clean kitchen towel, dab out as much water as possible from spinach.
Add cooled, drained, chopped spinach to cheese mixture and give it a good stir – filling is ready for the ravioli!

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