My Husband LOVES Italian food! And when he gets his hankering, I get busy. There is nothing quite as fabulous as fresh pasta. Don’t get me wrong, we use the box a lot, but when it’s just me and him, the love gets cooking. About twelve years ago I saw a pasta machine in a second hand store that was still in the box and had never been used, so needless to say I bought it. I had never made pasta before, but I learned. Even though I have the Kitchen Aid to help with the mixing, I opt for the old cranking machine.
Once the dough is made, I turn it out of the bowl onto a well floured surface and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then I make the pasta. First I cut a piece of the dough away from the whole and slowly thin that piece through the press beginning with the #1 setting and slowly moving to the #5 setting. I do not skip the settings in between. It is essential for the elasticity of the pasta. I always have the big pot of salted water simmering close to a boil and standing by. If you don’t dry out your pasta for later use, you need to cook it.
At this point, the sky is the limit. Butter, garlic and Parmesan, Marinara, whatever you want. But tonight I made a Roasted Tomato, Tarragon Cream Sauce with Italian Sausage & Sherry.
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups cake flour
4 large egg yokes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup good white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc) I use a Sauvignon Blanc.
1 tsp kosher or Himalayan salt
Mix all the ingredients together in your Kitchen Aid, (or if you don’t have a standing mixer, place the flour on a clean kitchen surface and make a well in the center. Place the rest of the ingredients in the center of the well and work them all together until they form a dough ball). Rest the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes then roll or press through a pasta machine, and cut in the machine or to desired width. Boil for 5 minutes in salted boiling water and toss in oil so the pasta does not stick.
Roasted Tomato, Tarragon Cream Sauce with Italian Sausage & Sherry
6 cloves garlic
12 to 14 plum tomatoes
1 sweet onion
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 links Italian sausage (hot or mild depending on your preference)
1 cup (8 oz) heavy cream or 1 can evaporated milk (for a lighter side)
1 Tbs fresh tarragon chopped
1 Tbs parsley chopped
1/4 cup sherry
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice tomatoes into quarters, cut onion into 6 wedges. Clean 4 cloves of garlic and leave whole. Toss tomatoes, onions and garlic in 1 tbs of olive oil and the salt and pepper. Place contents on baking sheet and cook for 25 to 35 minutes. Let the veggies roast to a dark brown but not burned state. Remove from oven, cool slightly and place in a blender to puree. In a medium sized pot, add 1 tbs olive oil. Remove sausage from casing and add to oil. Use your spatula to break meat up into little pieces. Cut up last two cloves of garlic and add to sausage. Once all the meat is cooked, add the sherry and let cook for 6 minutes. Next add the blended roasted tomatoes and the heavy cream. Cook until heated through and serve over your fresh pasta. Delicious!