Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Home-made Pasta - the Best Cure for What Ails You

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Joanna has a fabulous cookbook called The Italian Kitchenby Gabriella Mariotti. You can tell it's one of her favorites by the state it's in. The spine is now used as a bookmark, the pages stained and stuck. In other words...it's well loved.

This particular recipe (You can't tell yet what it is, can you?) is one she's looked at over and over but never made. She didn't quite know what to make of the lentils. I, on the other hand, didn't think cheddar cheese was right. We added a little of this and a little of that and came up with what my Honey said was the best pasta he's ever eaten. We looked at him...."that's a pretty strong statement", I said and his reply..."I mean it - the best ever!!!"

Even the baby loved the filling. We pureed it and he just gobbled it up for dinner.

Okay, here he's eating peas - I never did get the photo, but he had the same joyful expression- just a different colour on the cheeks and bib.

I love our new weekend tradition of getting together to make our own pasta and create a dish. This is our third time and it justs keeps getting better and better.
First time, it took 5 of us to look after the baby and make some simple fettuccini.

Last week we made an unbelievable lasagna. We were only 4 people managing the process, but it still took 3 hours.

This time we were 6 adults and the baby and it was delightful chaos. Joanna, Sharron and I were the pasta makers and my Honey and his parents, visiting from Toronto were on baby duty. Well, actually we all took turns being with the munchkin - he's so cute. But I digress. Actually...I'm not. It's exactly how the time went...back and forth between baby and pasta.

I found semolina flour at the the Italian Gourmet Market - did you know that semolina flour is finely ground corn meal? Big correction thanks to Judith (my favorite pasta making expert) of Think On It....

Semolina is NOT corn. It's wheat. In the US it is hard wheat. In Italy it is
roughly ground wheat that forms what to Italians seems like little seeds-- ergo
seme means seeds, semolina in little seeds. It can be hard or soft wheat in
Italy, and if hard is semolina di grano duro.

Polenta is ground corn meal.

We decided to do pure semolina pasta, which ended up requiring two more yolks plus an additional whole egg to get a pasta that held together. It was a little more challenging to manage, but in the end the sheets looked fine. Next time, perhaps we'll try half semolina, half all-purpose flour.

So what was this week's pasta you ask?...

Lentil Cannelloni

I'm not sure what's up for next week so you'll just have to come back and see for yourself. What I do know...is, it's a fantastic way to spend the day...covered in flour, great aromas from the stove, cacophany of the best noises - laughter, clattering of pots and pans, sizzling stove sounds... pure wonderful chaos. Try it, you won't believe how fantastic a plate of pasta can be.


Deborah said...

I always love seeing your wonderful pasta dishes!! This one looks especially delicious.

Anne said...

wow. those are mouthwatering things..

Ulrike said...

Just good, what can I say more?

Kevin said...

The "Home-made Lentil Cannelloni" looks really good! I have been meaning to try making my own pasta for a while now.

Sara said...

Oh that looks so good. And lentils! Very creative.