Tag Team Pasta

Julia and I both love to cook for one another. Sometimes the most fun dinners though are the ones where we cook together. We got a little creative and adventurous as a team recently, and in no more than a laugh-filled half-hour had pounded out one of the more elegant dishes we had cooked in a while.

The adventurous part was making our own pasta from scratch. We always see it on TV – simply mix an egg per person with just enough flour so that it goes into a crumbly dough. It's never the exact recipe – different on Jamie Oliver than on Iron Chef America – but it's always the same concept. It was Julia's idea, so she was in charge of making pasta, while I was in charge of the cutting and cooking of the pasta as well as the sauce to accentuate it, a lemon truffle butter sauce.

Julia mixed 3 eggs with about 3 cups of flour in the food processor until it was a crumbly consistency and then worked the dough on the counter for a couple minutes until it was smooth and ready to be fed into the roller attachment for her stand mixer. She said that it seemed a little too brittle and worked a little more egg in so that it would feed and roll out into smooth sheets. It seems that it would have been easier to add more flour to a too-soft pasta dough than add more egg to a too-brittle dough, so we agreed that under-shooting the flour would be better for next time. Still, before I could even melt my butter with a little olive oil, truffle oil, onion, salt, pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice, goat cheese, paprika, sage and nutmeg and let it thicken into a nice, deep-flavored pan sauce, Julia was handing me lovely smooth sheets of rolled pasta. I was beyond impressed!

I floured each sheet all over as I folded them in half several times. Then I ran my knife through to make long, thickish, spaghetti-like noodles. Nothing too pretty or exact, but the nice rustic, homemade look that we love in our food (and Jamie Oliver promised us it would on his show.) As soon as I had cut and fluffed the pasta into a big mess of lovely looking strands, I put it all into my pot of boiling, salted water. Used to 10-15 minutes of cooking time for dried pasta? This fresh pasta takes just a minute to cook to al dente, maybe even less. It's amazing.

I tossed the finished pasta with the finished sauce and plated just in time for Julia to garnish each portion with a nice grate of fresh parmesan.

The pasta tasted amazing and we both agreed the sauce was subtle but really brought out the right flavors. The acidity of the lemon with just enough salty and rich complements really popped with the perfect al dente of the pasta. It was a comforting and delicious dinner, and one that was way more fun to make and eat together than to just order in some restaurant for $20. We got to learn a little through being adventurous and laugh our way all the way to a perfect dinner for two.


Rachel said...

So I've been following your blog for a while now, but I wanted to comment on this entry because I love making pasta from scratch! SO easy and fast! Usually, I use about 1/2 whole wheat flour and add in a good amount of fresh cracked pepper (if you want thin pasta, make sure the pepper is finely ground or it will tare the dough)along with olive oil and 3T fresh lemon juice for a nicely flavored dough. My boyfriend and I have tried other flavoring agents (spinach, tomato paste) but this is one of my favorites. Just thought I'd share in case you wanted to try something different next time!

~~BT~~ said...

Wow thanks for the awesome suggestions! It is in my nature to vary things, so this will definitely be something I do next time. Wanted to keep it simple for the first time, but I really can't wait to try your variations.