Since moving to our house in early 2013, I’d been promising Bo and Bel we’d make fresh pasta together. Why has it taken three years to make pasta you may ask…well let’s just say this house was a bit of a ‘fixer upper’. The truth is, it had never had a fitted kitchen. It’s a 1930’s semi-detached bungalow. When we moved in, the kitchen consisted of two large cupboards, one housing a twin tub and the other; the sink. You could actually go inside the cupboard, close the door behind you and wash up. The rest of the room was dominated by a vastly oversized fireplace, which had long since had the ‘fire’ element removed and all that remained was a tiled hearth and a disproportionately sized cupboard. This left space for a small table (which we could just about squeeze the three of us around) and served as the only work surface in the room. The oven was the type with an eye-level grill and came with the house.
One of the cupboards had to have the door and part of the brickwork removed, just to plumb in the washing machine. The cupboard in the fireplace did sport some fantastic printed wallpaper though…
Bit by bit I have been renovating the house- last Spring the large, rotten, single glazed windows were replaced and the large, French doors into the garden were added. Last summer the renovations started proper and I’m over the moon that I (almost) have a completed kitchen now…
So…back to pasta…
You will notice I used gluten free flour- I’m not coeliac but I’m experimenting a little with gluten free recipes. You can use 00 flour if you prefer.
You will also notice a lot of my recipes are vegan- I’m not vegan, but Bo is and my diet is close enough that it makes home cooking simpler much of the time.
For the dough
Half a bag (500g) of gluten free flour (the one I used was Dove’s Farm) -in the Magi Mix
1 pinch Maldon salt
Slowly add a little warm water to bring dough together. As soon as it does-stop. The dough is done- it should hold together easily, but not be too sticky. If it is sticky, add more flour.
Turn the dough out onto cling film, wrap and put it in the fridge for half an hour, or until you are ready to use it.
So…you can use this for whatever type of pasta you like- we chose to make a semi-circular ravioli type. However, there was a little left over- enough for lunch- so we rolled it through the machine into spaghetti and ate it with a bit of pesto, some olives and a sprinkle of vegan ‘Parmesan’ my friend Suzie gave me (must pinch her recipe).
For the filling
Last night for dinner I had some mackerel fillets with wilted spinach and sweet potato… The sweet potatoes were absolutely humongous- about the size of a large Guinea pig! Needless to say, I had leftovers. Perfect. Pasta. Filling.
Mash up sweet potato
mix through a dollop of vegan pesto (I will post this recipe another time), season. Done.
Making the ravioli
roll the pasta out in a sheet- I did this in a pasta machine and didn’t need to add any flour to stop it sticking, but I think you’d need to if rolling by hand. Try and get it to no more than 1mm thick-but not so thin you can’t move it easily.
We used a pastry cutter to cut circles out of the sheets, filled them with a little of our sweet potato mixture, brushed with a little cold water, folded them over and sealed shut with a gentle squeeze. If you use too much filling and the pasta doesn’t seal, it will leak out during cooking.
I think we got about 25 of these little pasty shaped pastas-enough for the three of us for dinner.
We covered these and put them in the fridge while we went out for the afternoon.
when we came back I made the…
I have a few different ways I like to make a tomato based sauce- and usually there are hidden vegetables- depending on what I have in the fridge…this was today’s offering:
2 red onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, squished and chopped
about 6 small peppers (capsicum), various colours
a string bag full of tomatoes- about 25- medium sized
2 pink lady apples, chopped, brown parts and cores/seeds removed (to add a bit of sweetness- added to the fact that they needed using up!)
1 tube tomato purée
a few basil leaves (not many left on my plant- a few more would have been nice)
This makes a large batch- we’ve got at least 3 or 4 meals ahead of us on this batch alone.
Put a splash of water in a non-stick, large pan/casserole type.
Add onions, little salt, cook 5 mins on Med heat
Add carrots, pepper, apple, cook another 5 mins
Add garlic, sprinkle of oregano, cook for another couple of minutes
If at any time the mixture starts to stick, add another splash of water
Add the tomatoes, purée, a little more salt and black pepper
Simmer, covered on a low heat for as long as you have time to wait- but at least 20 minutes until all the veg is soft and the tomatoes have broken down
At this point I blend in the magi-mix then return to the pan, cover and leave on the lowest heat, checking now and then to make sure it isn’t sticking
I decided to add black olives at the last minute- we all LOVE olives!
Cooking the pasta
Bring to the boil a large pan of water- it’s important that the pasta has plenty of room to move around
When boiling, add in the little pasty pasta one by one, but quickly
They take about 4-5 minutes to cook and start floating to the top as they are ready
Drain and mix with the sauce
To serve we liked the basil leaves and a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil…I added a few chilli flakes to mine too. Seriously delicious!
Hopefully it won’t take us three years until the next family pasta making session…