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Homemade Pasta with the kids

May 30, 2009

I love when I find that brown box at the front door and I know another culinary delight has arrived. This time it is my new Kitchen Aid pasta roller and cutter attachments. It is a school night and there is a lot going on but we must make pasta! DSC06281My daughter Isabella is crazy about pesto these days. She knows how to make it and gets at it while I organize the pasta dough. I love the way food continually brings the family together in the most natural way. We cook, we laugh, and we yell homework questions back and forth across the kitchen. All is good.

Homemade pasta really is so easy. Make a well out of flour on your counter. Crack some eggs in the center. Add some salt and a little olive oil if you like. Start stirring the eggs and allow the flour to cave in around the sides as you stir. When it comes together knead it until smooth and let it rest for a half hour. Fresh pasta is such a treat. It has a richer, chewier texture than dry pasta. It is not “al dente” but has more body and chew. It cooks in just a few minutes and you can keep it in little piles tossed in flour and wrapped in plastic in the freezer.

I love eating in Italy. There is something beyond words about the full, rich flavor of pasta when it is done well. You can taste the clean, rustic flavor of the wheat that made it. When you make a sauce that is just the right consistency and it coats the noodles perfectly (not too wet, not to dry, not too thick) it is amazing. Soul fulfilling! Pesto is one of those sauces that is quick, super flavorful and coats the noodles just right. The key to great pesto is GREAT ingredients. Buy the good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Use fresh, bright basil, the real Italian pine nuts and good olive oil. Be aware that some olive oil has such a strong flavor it may overwhelm the flavor of the pesto. DSC06284That is the one ingredient that I will spend less on for pesto. Make it a more neutral olive oil so you can taste the brightness of the basil (which is of course the star in pesto) the rich, nuttiness of the pine nuts and the mouth puckering goodness of a great Reggiano.

Eat well, enjoy life, be happy.

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