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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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January 22, 2010

A Post-Pasta Post...

Well, there's the good news and the bad news. The good news is that I'm quite pleased with this attempt at homemade pasta. I ended up with noodles as my pictures will attest and I've even saved the hand-cut ones to have with something tomorrow. There are a couple of things I will do differently in future - and, yes, I think I'll be doing this with some regularity...I've always loved fresh pasta and want to try some ravioli recipes that aren't all cheese. What I'll do differently from what my E-R book recommended is not lay the rolled dough out to dry for 20 minutes or so before cutting it. Cause it dried more than it should have, I think. That's why half of it is hand cut. I had cut my very long piece of rolled-thin dough into two pieces and laid them on the counter as directed. By the time I checked them, they were completely dry along the edges and the top side was also pretty dried out. The first half I tried to feed through the noodle cutters I couldn't so I rolled that piece up and cut it by hand. The second piece I managed to kind of cram in to get it started and ended up with noodles, but a lot of the edge pieces and ends broke off and went into the trash. So, I'll do like we did in the class - roll it and roll it and roll it and then cut the noodles (or make the ravioli if that's what I'm doing) right away.

Also, I noticed that none of the recipes I was looking at had salt added and I will either add a little or salt the water more than I do for store-bought pasta cause it would have been better if it had a little more salt.

But overall, I was quite pleased with the pasta and am eager to try something else soon. However...she said grimly...I wasn't so pleased with my lentil topping. And to be honest, by the time I had made the noodles I was thinking "why would you use such a strange topping for your first attempt at home-made pasta - why not something you know you'll like?" But I plowed ahead and chopped and minced and sauteed and worked myself into a lather for a very ho-hum, kind of non-descript "sauce". It wasn't actually bad - just didn't have much pizazz for how much work it involved. I did think the red chard was really pretty though. And I have a recipe I'm going to use the rest of that bunch in - it's an Italian bread salad of just the chard - which, interestingly, is roasted first - good crusty bread toasted and cut into croutons, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and probably salt and pepper (I don't have the recipe in front of me). It doesn't call for tomatoes which is nice since there is not a decent tomato to be had right now.

So here are my pictures but I'm not posting any recipes to my collection because I've decided homemade pasta is a learn by doing experience and the "sauce" I won't be repeating.

On the left is the first roll through.  There are seven settings and I went all the way up through 7 but then, based on the info in my book, decided to fold that over and put it back through six.  I probably would have been fine sticking with the thinner 7 and it would have cooked a little faster.  But on the right are finished noodles!!

And these are the hand-cut noodles.

And here's the pretty red chard and here's the finished, ho-hum dish.  It needed more flavor and more sauciness!


Christopher said...

A moment of silence, as we give thanks for the successfully-completed noodles...
(congratulations! And in this successful venture, did you determine what may have caused the last time to turn out so poorly?)

Mary Lynne said...

Yeah, I'm feeling better... sort of "I am strong, I am invincible, I am WOMAN!!!" tee hee. And I don't know - I think partly it was using the large egg instead of a jumbo and also maybe doing it on a wood surface which of course would absorb some of the moisture. Other than that, I haven't a clue. My E-R book has 3 pasta dough recipes - one is made with white wine as part of the liquid and I'm going to try that one too. Already have my little bottle of white wine in the fridge.

Thanks for your support, Chris, during this trying period of my life. :)


christopher said...

wine in noodles... now that is interesting...
I was wondering if the wood might have contributed to the problems; but then I was thinking "centuries of pasta making have probably taken place on wood, rather than stone" so I dunno. Glad it seems the trying part might be behind you--now you can just keep trying---new recipes for pasta.

Mary Lynne said...

My thoughts exactly on the wood surface. But that and the egg size are the only difference. Well, and I think, traditional or not, it helped starting out in a bowl instead of having to chase it all over the counter (or board).

January said...

Way to defeat the beast, Mama!
I'm so glad the noodles were a success, despite the strange sauce situation. I wonder if maybe the fact that the recipe from the cookbook gave flour by weight rather than volume also contributed to the success - according to Cook's Illustrated you should always measure flour by weight because the volume can vary so much.
At any rate, congratulations!

Mary Lynne said...

The flour measurement could very well be a factor, I'm thinking. I try very hard when I measure flour not to tamp or shake it down, but who knows? She does also give a measurement which is 3/4 cups + 2 T but that seemed like more trouble than just weighing it. If I ever make it for more than me, I may need to invest in a bigger scale - I think mine only measures to 16 oz.


Anonymous said...

YUMMY!!!! So sure look like perfect noodles to me. The dish looks really appetizing too. You might be inspiring me to work up the nerve to try.


Mary Lynne said...

Bravely said, about the dish looking appetizing, Heather. I didn't think it did. None of my finished dishes have looked to great so far...wonder how the food photos I see all over the internet turn out so well. Oh, and one thing I read in my E-R book about making pasta is whatever you do, don't use the extruder-type of pasta making machine (like we broke that one time). Don't know why except she said it affects the texture. Don't know that my texture detector is fine-tuned enough to notice a difference if I were to compare.


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