I know these posts might seem far and few between, but its summer, and we've all got a lot going on, so I'm sure you understand. I'm excited because I'm now almost at my 50th day (what?!) which means I'm HALFWAY THERE. This project is starting to become more than just me making and eating wonderful things; I've had to find a balance between doing this and all of the other things I love. Having friends and family that love food like I do has helped a lot, but I'll admit at times it has been tricky. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm learning a lot about myself and about food! But, enough about that, lets talk pasta!
This was a hard post to categorize because (lucky us) everything these past 10 days was really good! Don't forget to check out the slideshow at the end to see more "how they were made" photos and behind the scenes shots.
The Tastiest: Taleggio Scarpinocc with butter + balsamic
This was a recipe from one of my wonderful cookbooks; we went out and bought fancy cheese and I even invested in a bottle of nice balsamic (eek). Was it worth it? 100% yes. The longer I do this, the more I've come to realize that sure, substitutions work, but sometimes using the ingredients it says to use really do make a difference. (we'll chat more about substitutions later) What I like the most about this book (Flour+Water) is that it has little sections about the importance of these some of these ingredients, like balsamic. Its the main reason I went out and got some for myself, and after we used it to flavor this dish, I can tell you with certainty it was worth every penny.
The Most Exotic: Testarolo with pistachio pesto
Some people think that this is Italy's oldest pasta, and I wouldn't doubt it. Making it is an unusual process, it cooks like a crepe, then gets cut up, boiled for about 15 seconds, and tossed with pesto. I think it was actually a little scarier that regular pasta, let me tell you why. The instruction regarding the pan made me super nervous. They wanted you to super heat it, aka leave it on the stove for 15-30 minutes with nothing in it. Now, I've accidentally done this (not to this extent) and its not ideal, even still, I begrudgingly followed the directions and put my cast iron pan (please don't use a normal pan for this) and it was fine! The batter is really simple (literally just durum flour and water) and didn't seem like anything special. I was actually shocked when these worked, between the pan situation, the batter and NO OIL to stop them from sticking, I really had prepared myself for the worst. They were yummy, and I speak the truth when I say I've literally never had anything like them.
The Most Disappointing: Casonsei with feta + parsley
This was the hardest one to pick because somehow I went 10 days without making something weird/awful! These weren't bad, I just wasn't "wowed." I was hoping for a stronger feta flavor, but its kind of a tricky cheese to work with. It has a lot of water in it, so between that and the ricotta the texture of the filling was grainier than I would have liked. They were still good, but not my favorite this week.
The Prettiest: Textured Capunti with mushrooms + marsala wine
Come on, how pretty is this. I had seen videos on instagram of people using a cheese grater to achieve this perfect bumpy texture and have been dying to give it a go. Extra stiff dough + some time constraints = the perfect opportunity to try it! It went great, they were so easy. This mushroom/marsala wine combo has yet to get old for me; so it was delicious too. In terms of looks, the colors and the different textures are really what did it for me (photographing it outside and before sunset didn't hurt either)
The one you could make tonight: Trofie with Kale + sausage
This flavor combo has been one of my go to dinners for a while now. Sausage + greens + butter/garlic/lemon is a tried and true combo that rarely disappoints. Although trofie is a tricky shape to master, once you do, it quickly will become a favorite. If you're not up for making it, sometimes you can find it dried in the Italian section of your grocery store. Other pasta shapes, like gemelli or fusilli are also a favorite for this.
Here is what you'll need
Half a box of a short pasta shape (trofie, gemelli, fusilli, rotini)
A bunch of greens (I love everything in the broccoli family, or something like kale or spinach)
A few sausages (hot or sweet italian will do the trick, for half a box of pasta I'd probably do three)
olive oil and or butter
Fresh lemon Juice
Salt + pepper
Here is what you do!
Prep your veggies + meat, cut broccoli into bite size pieces, prep your greens (discard heavy stems and cut into manageable sizes) Strip the sausages of their skin
Heat oil (I'd use probably a tablespoon? I'm always eyeballing it) in sauté pan. Add chopped garlic (lets say a clove to be on the safe side) red pepper flakes if you want, and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it starts to brown*. Add sausages and cook, breaking them up into small pieces with your stirring implement, don't be afraid to really cook the sausage, lots of brown = lots of flavor. When most of the sausage is cooked add your greens then season with salt and pepper. I like to splash in some water or white wine, (I would guess you need between 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of liquid) to steam the vegetables; usually I'll leave them covered for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta and cook until al dente, you'll want it to finish ocoking in your sauce. SAVE SOME PASTA WATER, I like to scoop my pasta straight from the water to my frying pan (I'm very anti culander right now). Toss in some butter, and between 1/4-1/2 a cup of pasta water. When you stir them together over heart the starch from the pasta water and the butter will make a thicker tasty sauce. It might look scary and watery, but if you leave it over high heat, and continue to stir it will thicken up.
Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice if you desire, some parmesean cheese and chopped parsley. boom. done.
*If something happens and you burn your garlic it cannot be saved. Start over. Its not worth it. Trust me.
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!
And heres a video about shaping trofie! I promise I'll make a semolina and water dough video soon (that gives you enough time to go out and buy some flour)