100 Day Project: Days 1-10
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
Alright! This is really happening! We're chugging along! So far it isn't as hard as I expected it to be, I've gotten into a routine, come home, make the dough, let it rest for 30 minutes (conveniently I get to rest for 30 minutes) or I prep a filling or sauce. At that point, the family has usually come home, and they either decide to help, or volunteer to clean the kitchen (hands raised to the sky emoji) in exchange for dinner.
The pasta everyone has been ooh-ing and ahh-ing over is the egg yolk raviolo. I will attempt to write some sort of recipe post, but the truth is - I don't usually follow recipes. I kind of mentioned that in my last post, when I cook I am really into wingin' it. For most things anyway. But for you, I'll try. For more on this "no recipe" thing and how it pertains to cooking pasta check out THIS article from bon appetit. Its short and it perfectly sums up how I feel about making pasta.
I have a feeling I'm going to be doing a post similar to this again (say maybe 9 more times) so I think it will be helpful to break it down into categories. The tastiest, the prettiest, the most disappointing, the most exotic, and the one you could probably make tonight!
The Tastiest: Tortellini in Brodo
I think I loved these because of the filling. They were a filled with a mixture of ricotta (both handmade and from the store, and yes I make cheese I have a problem), mozzarella, parmesan, lemon zest, nutmeg, chopped parsley and basil. If I was going to make them again (which I probably will) I wouldn't serve them in broth, I would do a light cream sauce or butter
The Most Exotic: Cecacmariti with Pesto
I did follow a recipe for these guys, because the dough is (wait for it) kind of exotic. Its different than traditional pasta dough because it has yeast in it! So these had to rise for about an hour, and after they were rolled, got a little puffy which was cool. The most interesting part for me was cooking them - they floated to the surface IMMEDIATELY which was problematic, because that's how I usually tell when pasta is done. Fast forward to me eating one every minute to tell if they were cooked. After they were done boiling and I put them in a frying pan to finish cooking with pesto, they completely changed again - and went from looking like puffy dough to looking like dumplings. These might have been my overall favorite, the pesto was the best I've made yet.
The Most Disappointing: Sweet Potato Gnocchi
I was really excited about these. I used to buy them frozen from trader joes and it was awesome, these just kind of fell flat. The dough was tricky to work with, I even followed a recipe more closely than usual (making sure to use the right amount of potatoes instead of guessing it) but the dough ended up being super wet, and I had to add a lot more flour to it. I would guess that I over roasted my potatoes, and that's what made everything difficult. I will try these again, but they were just too gummy for me. I will say this though, the sauce was something different, nuts, bacon, butter and sage, and that was a nice change from all of the traditional sauces we have been eating.
The Prettiest: Raviolo with Egg Yolk
This one was kind of a showstopper. I made this for Garrett's 25th birthday as our "breakfast pasta" because I knew I wasn't going to have time to make more during the day. We used the leftover filling from the tortellini (yum) and served it over sauteed pea shoots (which I'm starting to suspect were not shoots but stems) It was really tasty, I want to make it again but with polenta, or a cheesy grits type situation.
The one you could make tonight: Cacio e Pepe
Do you have pasta, parmesean cheese (or romano), butter, salt and pepper in your house? If yes (and come on, the answer should definitely be yes) - you can totally make this tonight. HOWEVER. If you only parmesean cheese you have is the kind that doesn't need to be refrigerated, I would wait and pick up something a little more real. Anywho, here is the gist:
Cook your pasta (boxed is totally cool too you guys) and reserve some of the pasta water, make sure your water was well salted before cooking (my favorite book describes pasta water as"briney"). Pasta water is the single most underappreciated ingredient for making awesome pasta at home. Then, drain your pasta, do not rinse it, and put in a frying pan with butter, parmesean cheese, and liberal amounts of pepper. Add some pasta water and stir it around. The starch from the pasta (in the pasta water) emulsifies the butter, water and cheese and creates an easy simple sauce. If you are having trouble following these directions, I the link I posted above (this one) has a great video on how to make this.
I want to take a minute to thank everyone for their support and interest in my project! And, just thought you'd like to know I'm really getting tired of the word "pasta" so if anyone wants to offer alternatives that would be great. (noodle should come into play this week)
Here are some of my favorite pictures from these 10 days, to see photos of all 10 finished dishes check out this link to my #100daysofpastafresca on instagram!