Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rags to Riches

Fresh Pasta Rags + Everyday Tomato Sauce

1) Because I don't have enough gray hairs, I've started a photo blog
2) Why is it already half way through July?

I love pasta...  Actually I love Italian cuisine in general.  If I had the choice to come back as a different ethnicity in my next life I would choose to be half Italian/half Vietnamese.  At it's best, Italian food to me is humble and wraps its arms around you on a cold night like the coziest of down comforters.  It's simple food that's extraordinarily easy and rewards you with the greatest feeling of gratification.  To be honest, a lot of Vietnamese food is kind of the same way as well.

get rollin

While I try to make fresh pasta as much as I can, I still haven't found the funds nor the space to buy a pasta machine, so I'm usually stuck rolling out pasta by hand.  Don't get me wrong, rolling out the satiny sheets of yellow noodles is a fun way to spend the day, but in order to achieve the correct level of thinness you're pretty much confined to a few select cuts of pasta, one of them being rags


You see, even when well rested I find pasta dough to be pretty elastic/tough when rolling it out in a giant sheet for fresh ravioli or lasagna, so most of the time it remains too thick and doughy.  The only way I can apply adequate pressure is to roll it out noodle by noodle.  Thus, if you ever see me making fresh pasta you bet it's either just for me or for a momentous occasion.

 the smell of sunday on a tuesday

There's never enough praise for this tomato sauce- just google "Marcella Hazan tomato sauce" and you'll be met with pages upon pages of pure praise for her recipe.  Maybe I shouldn't say this because it's been repeated so many times, but once you taste this sauce you become taken aback at how good just 3 ingredients taste.

 skim the scum

 comfort on a plate

Fresh Pasta Rags + Everyday Tomato Sauce

Fresh Pasta Rags

1 1/2 cups of flour, plus more for rolling out
2 eggs
splash of olive oil
salt + pepper

On your workspace make a well with the flour; fill it with the eggs, oil, salt and pepper.  With a fork, start beating the liquid ingredients in the center while gradually incorporating the flour.  Keep doing this until the dough begins to form and becomes too stiff to handle with the fork. Begin kneading the dough with your hands until a smooth ball of dough forms (you may or not need extra flour).  Wrap with plastic and allow the dough to rest for a half hour to an hour.

To make pasta rags by hand, cut the dough in half, and make thin slices crosswise.  Take each slice and roll it out until 1/8 inch thick or thinner- it should be slightly translucent.  Allow the rags of pasta to air-dry until ready to use. 

Tomato Sauce


2 pounds of ripe tomatoes (I had campari lying around)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 medium onion, pealed and halved
salt + red pepper flakes + sugar to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Score an 'X' on the bottom of each tomato, and blanch in the boiling water for 30-45 seconds.  Immediately place the tomatoes in an ice bath that has also been seasoned with salt.  The skins should easily peel off.  

Run the tomatoes through a food mill, or alternatively puree using a blender and strain the seeds out using a sieve.  Place the puree, butter, onion, salt, red pepper, and sugar in a pot and simmer for 40-45 minutes until the desired consistency and taste is reached.  As the sauce reduces, periodically skim the scum off the surface.

To serve, transfer the sauce into a large saute pan.  Boil the pasta for 3-4 minutes and immediately add it to the sauce along with a a couple ladles of the pasta cooking water.  Continue cooking the pasta until al dente.  Finish the dish with either a knob of butter or a splash of olive oil and if desired a sprinkle of cheese whilst tossing vigorously in order to aerate the dish and emulsify the starch in the sauce to give an unctuous mouth feel.  

1 comment:

  1. This looks simple and absolutely wonderful!