Posts Tagged ‘White Wine’

Paella | Relishing It

I’ve been wanting to share this amazing recipe with you for awhile now, and since Valentine’s Day is approaching I figure it’s finally time.  I’m not sure why, but to me this is a romantic dish.  Maybe it’s the beautiful color, the seafood, the scent of saffron, or even the wine.  In any case, for me this is an ideal Valentine’s Day dinner.

Paella | Relishing It

Yes, the dish looks impressive, but it’s not difficult to make.  It comes together quickly and the cooking time is relatively short.  The most labor intensive task is actually vegetable chopping.  And the flavors– my oh my, they’re unbelievable.  First, there’s the saffron.  Along with providing the beautiful red/orange hue, it adds a wonderful flavor.  Saffron is an impressive spice, but keep in mind it’s also the most expensive one out there.  With that in mind, I’ve given you the option of using between  1/2 – 1 teaspoon for this dish.  I’ve made it both ways, and it’s turned out great each time.  Just don’t skip the saffron entirely, because it makes a difference here.

Saffron for Paella | Relishing It

Spanish Chorizo for Paella | Relishing It

The other main star of the dish is the Spanish chorizo.  This is an aged chorizo with a delicious smokey flavor.  It can be difficult to find, but again, it’s worth the search.  I get mine at the St. Paul Cheese Shop, for those of you who live nearby.  The rice in this dish is supposed to be separated– not creamy like a risotto.  Look for a spanish rice, such as Bomba (also called Valencia) or Calasparra as they will absorb the liquid properly.  Another option is the more readily-available short-grain rice, Arborio.  For my version of paella, I use shimp, mussels, and clams.  I know chicken is often a component, but I stick with the seafood.  You can use whichever you like– you know my theory on making the dish your own.  The seafood paired with the clam juice and wine create a wonderfully intense flavor with a hint of brininess.

Paella | Relishing It

Paella | Relishing It

Seafood Paella | Relishing It

There are many different methods to cook paella.  I settled on heating the oven really hot (to 500°F) and placing a pizza stone in it.  I use a 14-inch stainless-steel skillet, so it’s nice in that it heats evenly in the oven as opposed to sitting on a small burner.  The pizza stone adds additional heat to the bottom of the pan in hopes that it will create a tasty, caramelized crust on the bottom called socarrat.  If you have a smaller 12-inch pan– feel free to cook it on the stove top.  Just be sure to move the pan around a bit for an even heat, while being diligent about not stirring it. If you do use a 12-inch pan rather than a 14-inch, you won’t be able to fit as much meat/seafood into the dish.  Use your judgment, and it’ll turn out just fine.  And of course, if you’re lucky enough to be able to cook it over an open flame outdoors, kudos to you!

Paella | Relishing It

Paella | Relishing It

The Recipe: Seafood Paella

(serves 4)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 green bell pepper, finely chopped,

1 white onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tomato (preferably from a local greenhouse), finely chopped

2 teaspoons concentrated tomato paste

1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 cup bottled clam juice

1 cup dry white wine, more if necessary

2 1/2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)

1/2- 1 teaspoon saffron (crushed using a mortar and pestle)

2 cups short grain rice–Bomba (Valencia), Calasparra, or Arborio

8 ounces (1/2 pound) spanish chorizo, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1/2 pound littleneck clams

1/2 pound mussels

1/2- 1 pound shrimp (peeled and deveined)

Lemon wedges, fresh parsley, and red pepper flakes  for garnish

Place a pizza stone into an oven and heat to 500°F for about a half hour.  Combine the chicken stock, clam juice, white wine, and saffron into a large sauce pan and bring to a high simmer.

Meanwhile, using a 14-inch skillet or a paella pan (12-inch will work, too) heat the olive oil and cook the chorizo over medium heat until some of the fat has rendered.  Remove the chorizo from the pan and add the red and green peppers, garlic, and the onions.  Sauté for a few minutes until tender.  Then add the tomato paste, spanish paprika, and the rice.  Sauté for about 1 minute.  Add the hot liquid and the chorizo to the skillet and place pan onto the pizza stone in the oven.  Do not stir after this point.  After 10 minutes, add the chopped tomatoes, mussels, and clams to the pan– crack side up.  Then, after 5 more minutes, push the shrimp into the rice and cook for about 5 more minutes.  If at any point the rice seems to be drying out too quickly, add more broth, water, or wine (go for the wine!) to the pan.  If the rice seems to be done cooking (it will only take about 20 minutes total) before the shrimp is done or the clams and mussels have opened up– just place tin foil over the entire dish to trap some of the steam.  I tend to do this when I place the shrimp into the dish. Discard any mussels and clams that ultimately never open up.  Serve with lemon wedges and fresh parsley.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by today!


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Homemade Chicken Broth | Relishing It

Hello, friends!  I hope you all had wonderful holidays.  Ours was busy, yet really fun.  We did a bit (17 hours!) of driving and managed to see a lot of our family.  Since Christmas is such a special time, I really try to keep the focus on my kids and making memories with them– thus the lack of blog posts for the last few weeks.  But yesterday I sent the little ones back to school after an additional two-days off due to the extremely cold weather here in Minnesota caused by the…POLAR VORTEX!  Have you heard about this thing?!  I’m kidding, of course you have.  It seems to be pretty much the only thing that’s been on the news for the last two weeks.  Well, we actually didn’t mind it much.  We played a lot of indoor games (Life, Jenga, Battleship, and Uno each saw some use), and we ate a lot of delicious soup.  Which, I guess, is my segue into today’s recipe.

I have two amazing soup recipes that I plan to share over the next week or so, but before I get ahead of myself, I want to talk about homemade chicken broth.  Homemade chicken broth is the cornerstone to both of these recipes.  While I know that making homemade broth is an old hat for some, for most the solution is picking up a box at the supermarket.  I’ll be honest, that’s occasionally been my solution too, though we recently got another freezer, so I’ve been making broth non-stop now that I have more space.  There are so many health benefits that come with good homemade chicken broth.  It was with good reason your Mother and Grandmother fed you chicken noodle soup when you were sick as a child– they knew what they were doing.

Homemade Chicken Broth | Relishing It

One of the nice things about making chicken broth is that it can be as easy or as involved as you want it to be.  Pretty much any amount of effort will most likely yield something far better tasting than what you get in those grocery store boxes.  Throw a chicken in a pot with a few vegetables, a few herbs, water, salt, and perhaps a glug of white wine.  There it is.  So what are you waiting for?

Alright, a little more detail.  Broth can be made with whole chickens, chicken parts, of just bones (though, technically this last one is called stock). I generally buy a whole (organic, pasture-raised, etc) chicken that is about 5 pounds.  And contrary to what you may have heard, the meat from the chicken is definitely still useable after you have simmered it to make broth.  The chicken retains its wonderful texture and moistness.  The key is that you have to know when to remove the chicken from the simmering pot.

Here’s how to do it:  after 2 1/2 – 3 hours of simmering, take the whole chicken out and remove the tender, fully cooked meat.  Then return the bones and skin to the pot and continue to simmer.  I normally simmer my broth for 24 hours– you can get so many healthy things out of that chicken the longer you simmer it.  However, if you can’t simmer it for 24 hours due to your schedule, anything longer than 3 hours will be just fine.  If you can stretch it to anywhere between 8 and 24 hours, it gets even better.

Homemade Chicken Broth | Relishing It

Monetarily speaking, it also makes sense to make your own.  The cost of the chicken alone is less than I would spend on the amount of broth I yield from one bird.  Plus, I get delicious tender, flavorful chicken that I can plan meals around.  I store my broth in the freezer in wide-mouth quart jars.  I’ve made the mistake of using regular jars and have had some crack. I also don’t put the lids on initially, leaving 1-inch- 1 1/2- inches of space at the top to allow enough room for the broth to expand as it freezes.  I then put the lids on after it has frozen.

You’ll find that once you make your first batch of broth, you won’t be able to turn back.  Honestly.  Enjoy– get started on that broth and I’ll meet you back here very soon to talk about some delicious soups you can make with it!

Homemade Chicken Broth | Relishing It

The Recipe: Homemade Chicken Broth

(Yields 5-6 quarts)

4-5 pound organic, pasture-raised whole chicken, or chicken parts, or bones

3-4 celery sticks, rough chopped

1 large carrot, rough chopped

1 large parsnip, rough chopped

1 onion, quartered (no need to peel)

1 bulb garlic, halved (no need to peel)

3/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 1/2 tablespoons dried thyme

3 dried bay leaves

handful of fresh parsley, rough chopped

About 2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt, more to taste

healthy glug of white wine, about 3/4 cup

Note: Remember, this is my version to make the broth.  If you don’t have all of the ingredients, don’t sweat it.  Use what you do have.  It’ll be delicious.  Also, when using the wine, if you’re not planning to finish the bottle,  portion it out into containers, freeze, and use some the next time you plan to make broth.  It works great!

Add all of the ingredients to a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot.  Fill with cold, filtered water– enough to cover ingredients by 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches.  Bring the ingredients to a near boil, skip off foam using a spoon, then reduce the heat to the lowest setting with the lid ajar ever so slightly.  You’ll want it to be on a very low simmer with the smallest amount of bubbles forming for the remainder of the time.  This will keep the evaporation to a minimum, as well as let the flavors deepen.

Simmer for about 2 1/2 hours.  Then carefully take the chicken from the pot and remove the meat.  At this point the chicken will shred beautifully.  You can use the meat immediately,  or freeze for another time.  Return the bones and skin to the pot and continue simmering for another 21 1/2 hours, or less time if need be.

When the broth is done, you will want to strain and discard the bones and vegetables– they’ve served their purpose.  Using the back of a large spoon, I often push the carrots and parsnips through the strainer– it gives the broth a wonderful color and flavor.  After you’ve removed the large chunks, you’ll want to pour the liquid through a cheesecloth, so it is nice and clear.  At this point, you can decide if you want to remove the fat from the broth or not.  Some people prefer the richness it adds and leave it in there.  I pour it into a gravy separator, the kind where the spout is on the bottom and the fat floats to the top.  If you don’t have that, you can also try a large resealable bag– the fat will float to the top and you can make a small cut on the bottom.  This may be tricky, so be careful.  Another option, is to wait until you place it into the jars or plastic containers, if using.  Once the broth is cold, the fat will harden and you can simply remove it.

When pouring into the jars, or plastic containers, if using– make sure to leave about a 1 1/2- inch space from the top of the jar.  The liquid will expand as it freezes.  Cool the broth completely before placing the the freezer.  I choose not to place the lids on them immediately, instead waiting until after they’ve fully frozen.  Thaw in warm water or place in the refrigerator when ready to use.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today!


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Confession time:  I may have a bit of an addiction to cookbooks.  Obviously I cook a lot, so this probably doesn’t sound too out of the ordinary.  Here’s the thing though, even when I acquire a new one (which seems to be happening more and more lately) I’m not satisfied.  I plow through it looking for ideas and admiring the photos, yet almost immediately want another.  This is true, no matter how good the book.  Yup, its an addiction.

There has been chatter lately that with the advent of electronic reading devices, cookbooks may become a thing of the past.  I guess the idea is that the internet (including blogs) and paperless “cookbooks” will make those comforting recipe tomes obsolete.  I disagree.  It seems that as a country, we’re becoming more interested in real, wholesome food.  As people become more comfortable with cooking at home again, I think they’ll return to beautifully written and photographed hard-copy cookbooks.  Sure, being able to find a meal based on ingredients you have on hand by using your computer is nice, but stumbling across a recipe that expands your horizons is what it’s all about.

Anyway…2010 was a stellar year for cookbooks.  Take a look at a few lists here or here.  Today’s recipe comes from one of my favorite new books– Harvest To Heat by Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer.  It’s a collaboration of recipes from America’s best chefs, farmers, and artisans.  It is an absolute stunner.

This dish uses pea shoots, which are in-season, locally.  Hopefully, you can get your hands on some of these little gems.  If you can’t, don’t worry.  You can still make it by simply omitting the pea shoots at the end.  Pea shoots are the leaves and tendrils of pea plants.  They are delicate and taste just like peas, but with a bit of a crunch.   Mixing them with salad greens is another way to really enjoy them.  In this dish they are sauteed for just a few seconds and then placed on top of this fantastic risotto.

The risotto itself has a pea puree  swirled into it.  My first thought was to skip making the puree and just add whole peas.  I’m so glad I didn’t.  The puree is lovely and gives the risotto a beautiful soft-green hue.  This dish comes together quickly, so go ahead and put the extra effort in by making the puree.   The herbs add loads of character to what would otherwise be a straight-forward risotto.  The fennel, in particular, really stands out.   The additional acidity of the white wine, countered by the rich flavor of the bacon really brings it together.  It’s creamy, salty, smokey, and fresh– all at once.

The Recipe:  Risotto with Pea Shoots and Bacon

(Serves 6)

2 cups fresh peas (or frozen)

4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, 2 left whole and 2 chopped (2 tablespoons)

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 small yellow or white onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice

2 cups dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire– though next time I’ll try a less aggresive style.  Perhaps a Pinot Bianco or Pinot Grigio.)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese

1/4 pound bacon or pancetta (about 6 slices), diced

2 cups pea shoots

1 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives

Course salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil.  Add the peas and cook for 1 minute.  Drain and cool.  Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree; strain through a mesh strainer and discard and solids.  Set aside.

Wrap the whole parsley sprigs, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and fennel seeds tightly in cheesecloth and tie with butcher’s twine.

Heat the broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat to a simmer.  Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; add the bouquet of herbs, the onions, and the garlic.  Cook until the onions and garlic are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the rice and stir to coat evenly with the onion mixture.  Add the wine, increase the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring constantly, until the wine is almost completely absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium, then add the warm broth 1 cup at a time, stirring the rice constantly until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding additional broth.  Continue to add broth, stirring until the rice is almost cooked through, about 20 minutes.  ( Note: you may not need to use all of the broth.)

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon or pancetta until crisp, 5-8 minutes.  Drain on a paper towel-lined plate, then transfer to a small plate and set aside.  Wipe out the skillet and heat 1 teaspoon butter over medium heat; add the pea shoots and cook until just wilted, about 1 minute.  Set aside.

When the rice is just cooked through, remove the bouquet of herbs,  then add the pea puree, chopped parsley, chives, and Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle the risotto into soup bowls.  Top each bowl with the crisp bacon or pancetta and pea shoots.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Harvest to Heat Cookbook

Thanks for stopping by!  I love your feedback, so feel free to leave a comment.  Have a fabulous weekend!


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I have been craving steamed mussels for a few weeks now.  The culprit was a visit to our favorite gastropub a month or two ago, where we shared steamed mussels with sliced chorizo sausage and had a few local craft beers.  It was a good night.  I love seafood, but don’t get a chance to eat it as much as I’d like here in the Upper Midwest.  A week later, as if to taunt me, the most recent issue of ‘Fine Cooking’ had a steamed-mussel recipe that looked similar to what I’d recently loved while out on the town.  Then I saw another variation on this theme on her blog.  Obviously this was a sign, so I headed down to Coastal Seafoods to buy some shellfish.

No, this is not a “local” dish.  I wish it were.  But fresh walleye is about as close to local seafood as I’m going to get in Minnesota, and this dish definitely won’t work with fish.  Now, back to the mussels.  I can’t believe I don’t make these more often!  They turn an ordinary middle-of-the-week dinner into an exciting and new meal.  Did I mention that they’re incredibly easy to make?  That they taste amazing?  That they’re relatively inexpensive?  How about this:  the whole process– start to finish– takes less than 30 minutes.

The mussels flavor is best described as a “briny goodness.”  The chorizo adds a little spice and contrasting texture.  I chose ground chorizo specifically because of this textural variation– and because we have a local (Yay!) brand that competes for the best I’ve ever tasted.  You can certainly use a Spanish-style, rather than ground, chorizo if you’d like.  Just slice it up 3/8 -inch thick.   The ramps (see here for a discussion on ramps), garlic, and smoked paprika combine nicely with the chorizo.  The dish is completed with a a small amount of white wine.  I made this with a Spanish Albariño– it’ll never lead you astray when matching with seafood.  The dish tastes spicy and divine.  Serve it with the garlicky croutons, pour a glass of that delicious wine, and settle in on the patio for the night.

The Recipe:  Steamed Mussels with Chorizo, Ramps, and Smoked Paprika

Serves 2, generously

3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, 2 minced and 2 thinly sliced

1/2 bunch of ramps, chopped  (white and green parts, only)

1 cup dry white wine,  an Albariño worked nicely (though I’m intrigued by how a minerally wine, like a Sancerre or even Chablis would change the flavor)

1/2 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika

1/2 pound ground chorizo

1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 sprigs fresh)

2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and debearded

1 baguette, cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Microgreens (for garnish, optional)

Combine the olive oil and the 2 cloves of minced garlic in a small bowl and set aside.

Position an oven rack about 4 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high.

In a 6-quart Dutch oven, brown the chorizo until fully cooked.  There should be a bit of oil leftover from the chorizo in the pan, if not add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the garlic and ramps and saute along with the chorizo for just a few minutes, until soft.  Add the smoked paprika and cook for 30 seconds longer.  Add the wine and thyme and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the mussels, coating them with the sauce mixture.  Cover and cook, stirring 2 or 3 times, until the mussels have opened, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, arrange the baguette slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and brush them with the garlic oil, dividing the bits of garlic evenly among the slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and then broil, rotating the baking sheet as needed, until evenly browned and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes.  Make as many as you like.

Discard any mussels that have not opened.  Serve the mussels with the sauce, croutons, and microgreens.  Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine

Make sure to come out and support the National Food Blogger Bake Sale on Saturday.  Proceeds to support Share Our Strength.  Our local gathering in Minneapolis/ St. Paul is at the Midtown Global Market –920 East Lake St. Minneapolis.  The hours are 11:00am – 4:00 pm.  Check to see if your city is having one.

Thanks again for stopping by– I appreciate all of your kind comments.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.


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My family loves Italian food, though neither my husband or I are Italian.  If we’re celebrating a special occasion, there’s a good chance we’ll be making pasta.  For years we relied on dry, packaged pasta for spaghetti, lasagna, and seafood dishes.  My husband bought a pasta maker some time ago, and while we were first a bit indimidated by the work involved in making fresh pasta, now we’re hooked.  Rather than look at it as extra time and effort, we separate out the tasks and make it a family affair:  I prepare the dough and the sauce, while my husband and four-and-a-half year old son crank out the noodles.  My two-year-old daughter provides moral support– or more accurately does her best to disrupt the process.  My hope is that the group effort makes nice “food” memories for my family and that they’ll always remember our time in the kitchen.

The pasta recipe here comes from one of the queens of Italian cuisine, Lidia Bastianich.  The pasta is silky, beautifully firm, and has that genuine “toothiness” when you bite into it.  If you’ve never had fresh pasta, you’re missing out as the texture is so different from boxed dry noodles.  This particular pasta pairs well with slow-cooked meat sauces.  They cling to it beautifully.  One of my favorites is a bolognese-style sauce.  I’ve made several from cook books, but they’ve never been exactly what I was looking for, so I took my own route for this recipe.  I’ve discovered that ‘bolognese’ sauces can be quite varied.  Some recipes and restaurants use lots of tomatoes, while others rely on them sparingly.  Some call for simmering in milk for long periods of time, while others add cream at the end of the cooking process.  I created this sauce to fit my own tastes– some tomatoes, yet different from a traditional tomato-based sauce.  I slowly simmer it in milk for a few hours to allow the flavors to fully incorporate.  Note that there are no herbs in the sauce, so the meat (especially the pancetta) and vegetables are the stars.

Homemade Tagliatelle: 

(Makes one pound of pasta)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg yolk (from a large egg)

3 large whole eggs

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Making the dough in a food processor:

Fit the regular cutting blade in the bowl of a processor  (these batches are too small for the dough blades of most machines).  Measure the flour into the bowl; process for a few seconds to blend and aerate.  Drop the eggs and egg yolk into a spouted measuring cup , or a bowl; beat briefly with a fork to break them up.  Mix in the oil  (you should have 7 fluid ounces).   To minimize the chance of overheating the dough, use eggs right from the refrigerator.

Start the machine running with the feed tube open.  Pour the wet mixture into the bowl quickly; scrape all the egg drippings out of the cup into the processor too.

Let the machine run for about a half minute.  The dough should form quickly; most of it should clump or ball up on the blade – some may spread on the sides of the bowl –  where it will twist and knead.  Let the machine knead the dough for about 10 seconds (no more than 40 seconds total processing).  Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface, and knead by hand for another half minute or so, until it’s smooth, soft and stretchy.  Wrap and rest the dough at room temperature for at least a half hour.  Store, very well wrapped, in the refrigerator for a day; or a month or more in the freezer.  Defrost frozen dough slowly in the refrigerator, and let it return to room temperature before rolling.  Defrosted dough will need a bit more flour.

If you have problems in the food processor – if there’s no apparent clumping after 30 seconds, or the dough stiffens up very quickly – stop the machine and feel the dough.  Adjust for stickiness or dryness by working in either flour or water in small amounts.  You can continue to work the dough in the machine, but don’t process for more than a total of 40 seconds – or turn the dough out to correct the consistency and finish kneading by hand.

Rolling the dough by machine:

I used a manual pasta machine for this.  Have your dough at room temperature for rolling.  Cut 1 pound of dough into four pieces.  Work with one piece and keep the others covered to prevent drying.  Have a large tray or baking sheet nearby (or two if you have them) lightly sprinkled with flour, on which to lay thin dough strips.  Smooth kitchen towels are also useful as resting surfaces and to seperate layers of strips.  Have flour for sprinkling and a knife handy, too.

Turn the knob to the widest setting– you’ll work at this setting for awhile.  Roll the first dough piece out with a rolling pin into an rectangle so that it’s thin enough for the machine to grab on the widest setting.  Roll it through the machine two times.  Fold the now elongated rectangle in thirds, and turn the dough 90 degrees  (so the fold is on the side, verticle), and roll it through.

Catch the dough; fold it and roll it through again with the fold on the side.  Repeat the folding and rolling six more times to strengthen and smooth the dough.  Like kneading, this will make it more resilient and workable.  Lay the first piece down, sprinkle it with a tiny bit of flour on both sides, and cover it (with plastic wrap or a towel).  Put the remaining pieces of dough through the same steps of rolling and folding.

Reset the rollers to the third setting (I roll pasta at every other setting from wide to narrow).  Roll your first strip through, but don’t fold in thirds again.  Let the rollers grab and move the dough– don’t push it or pull it through– and catch it with your hand as it comes out.  Roll the strip again to stretch and widen it; lay the strip down (on the lightly floured tray) and stretch the others in the same way.

Reset the machine even narrower; you should be on the fifth setting by now.  If the rollers fail to grab the dough, apply just a dab of water to the tip of the pasta dough.  Pass the first strip through once; it will lengthen rapidly, and you will need to catch and support it as it comes through the rollers.  Flour the strip lightly if it is sticking to the rollers.  After the second pass, if the strip is 20 inches or longer (and it really should be so), cut it crosswise in half, to get two shorter strips of about 10 to 15 inches.  Lay these down (not overlapping) and dust with flour; roll and cut the other strips in the same way.

You should have eight long strips at this point, each 5 -inches wide (nearly the width of the rollers).  I’ve found that this is generally the thickness that I want.  If you have a different pasta maker, and the noodles are 1/8 – inch thick (and the strips are shorter then 12- inches), you should pass them through the next narrow setting.  Roll the dough as thin as you like, as long as it doesn’t tear or fall apart.  If it does tear, fold the strip in half or thirds (making it shorter and enclosing the tear) and reroll at wider setting.

Set the finished strips down, lightly floured and not overlapping, in the big trays.  If necessary, cover a layer of strips with a floured kitchen towel, and rest more strips on top.

Keeping cut pasta:

You can cook the pasta as soon as it is cut, or let it sit and dry at room temperature until you are ready, but use them within a day.  Lay them out on trays, lightly floured and separated so they don’t stick together.  Arrange the pasta into “nests”.  Pasta that has been air-dried will take a bit longer to cook.

To freeze cut pasta for storage, set the nests  on trays that fit into your freezer.  After they’re solidly frozen, pack them in small airtight plastic bags or containers.  Don’t defrost before cooking; simply drop the pasta into the boiling water.

Cooking the pasta:

For 1 pound of pasta, bring 6  quarts of water to a full boil and stir in 1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt.  The dough has no salt, so it is particularly important that the cooking water be well salted.

Before adding pasta to the water, shake off any excess flour.  Drop the pasta into the boiling water in several batches, stirring with each addition to separate the pieces.

Keep the high heat, but don’t cover the pot.  Cook at a boil at least until the pasta rises to the top.  It should take 2-3 minutes.  Remember, fresh pasta is not cooked until  al dente like dried pastas.  Cook them until they are tender and cooked all the way through.

Source: Homemade Tagliatelle adapted from Lidia Matticchio Bastianich’s Lidia’s Family Table.  Bolognese recipe is my own.

Ragu alla Bolognese

(Simmer time: the longer the better.  At least 2-3 hours for optimum flavor)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

1 dry bay leaf

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup onions, finely chopped

1 cup carrots, peeled and finely chopped

1 cup celery, finely chopped

1/4 pound pancetta or bacon, diced

1 pound  free-range ground pork

1 pound grass-fed ground beef

6 tablespoons double-concentrate tomato paste

2 cups puréed canned tomatoes ( I can my own, I would suggest buying something low in sodium)

2 cups whole milk

3/4 – 1 cup white wine, such as Soave or Pinot Bianco (both Italian whites)

In a large Dutch oven, brown the beef and pork over medium-high heat.  Drain and discard the grease and remove the browned meat from the pan.  In the same pan, cook the pancetta or bacon until crisp.  Remove pancetta from the pan leaving the drippings behind.  Sauté the vegetables in the bacon drippings until tender, about 6-7 minutes.   Season with salt and cracked pepper.  Add the ground beef, pork, and pancetta to the pan.  Mix in the vegetables and the tomatoes, tomato paste, milk, bay leaf, and wine.  Bring to a boil, then cover and immediately turn down to low for a long, slow simmer for at least 2 hours, but hopefully a bit more.  The longer you can simmer this sauce, the better it will taste.  3 hours makes it delicious.  Remove cover near the end, if it needs to reduce/thicken  a bit more.  Adjust salt and pepper if necessary.  Combine the bolognese and tagliatelle and top with freshly grated parmesan.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Have a fabulous day, everyone!  Thanks for stopping by, and as always, I appreciate any feedback.


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