Posts tagged italy
Homemade Pasta

After spending 8 days in Italy and enjoying all the fresh delicious pizza and pasta I was feeling inspired to break out my Kitchen Aid and make a batch myself. We were having a dinner party for friends that were visiting from the U.S. and nothing brings people together like a family style pasta dinner! I have been making my own pasta for about 3 years. It seems like an intimidating task but really is quite simple! 

I realize that the "Real" Italians don't use Kitchen Aids. They use the egg and flour volcano method. You can google it. It sounds like what it is. I actually learned to make pasta for the first time with the volcano method but had a Kitchen Aid so decided it was worth buying the attachments. The good news is you don't need a Kitchen Aid or the pasta attachments to make pasta. You can just use the volcano method to make the pasta dough and then hand cut the noodles. It's a bit more time consuming but doable!

Volcano Method

Volcano Method

If you are looking to buy a Kitchen Aid and the attachments, check out the links below to Amazon. I have really enjoyed using mine for a number of things!

Pasta can be made with just about any flour. I prefer semolina flour as it adds a nice al dente bite to the pasta but if semolina is unavailable to you, all purpose flour gets the job done. Also when I make pasta I tend to double the recipe as it keeps very well. You can freeze the pasta in small nests and when ready to use throw them in a boiling pot. They will just need to boil for an extra few minutes. 

Recipe Serves 6

Ingredients-

1 Cup Semolina Flour

3/4 Cup All Purpose Flour

2 eggs

1 TB Olive Oil

1 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Pepper

1 TB Water

 

Directions-

Place the dough hook attachment on your Kitchen Aid (KA).

Add first 6 ingredients together in mixing bowl

Turn KA on low and allow to mix. Once ingredients begin to incorporate, slowly pour in water. 

The dough should continue to mix until it begins making a ball.

If the dough seems very sticky add a few TB of flour or if it is not balling because it's too dry add a bit more water.

You want the dough to be the consistency of leather. 

Once consistency is reached, remove ball and place on a floured surface. 

Place flat noodle attachment onto KA. 

Cut your ball into 4 equal pieces. You will be using these to put through your pasta attachments.

Make sure your dough is not sticky at all. Continue to cover with flour as needed.  If it's sticky it will not go thru attachment cleanly an you will end up with holes in your pasta sheet. 

Place attachment on setting 1. THis is the only setting you can sandwich your dough. You may have to put it thru setting 1 multiple times to get a nice piece.

Move setting up to 2. Place piece in. As numbers go higher, pasta sheet becomes thinner. If for any reason the pasta does not come out right (holes, uneven) you will have to go back to setting 1 and start piece over.

Continue this process with all 4 pieces until you reach setting 4. 

Set your sheets off to the side.

Remove flat attachment and replace with fettuccine attachment. set on slowest mixing mode.

Depending on how long your sheets are you may want to cut them in half as they will be easy to run thru noodle attachment.

Insert sheet pasta thru fettucinne attachment. 

Dust with additional flour to keep from sticking and place in nest.

Continue with all sheets. 

You may either boil right away or place in fridge or freezer. Just be sure that pasta is dusted generously to avoid noodles sticking together. 

To Boil- 

Place in a large pot of boiling water. Add 1 tsp salt. Add pasta nests, don't over fill. you may have to do 2 batches. 

Boil for 5 minutes. 

Drain and serve with favorite sauce!

 

New Recipe! Fennel Mandarin Chicken Salad

After our trip to Italy I found myself fat and happy, enjoying one delicious meal after another. There was one in particular that stood out to me. It was in Torbole and it was one of the first meals we had. It was a simple salad. Now when you have meats, cheeses, pasta, and pizza to choose from, a salad may sound terribly dull but it's the simplicity and freshness that made this salad stand out. Just simple, quality ingredients. I think we often forget how good food can taste when it's fresh!  

THis is the salad from Torbole

THis is the salad from Torbole

The salad I had in Italy was just greens, fennel, mandarin, and chicken. I decided to use some corgettes (zuchinni) because I had some lying around. 

Fennel is easy to work with. Just cut stems down to 1". Cut fennel down the middle and slice thinly. See below-

I thinly sliced the corgettes.

Finally I cut the peels off of mandarins and sliced them up. You may just peel but if you want to avoid the stringy pulp it's best to cut them. It also adds additional flavor because some of the juice is exposed to salad.

The dressing on this salad is literally just quality olive oil and REAL Modena Balsamic Vinegar. Real Modena Balsamic is aged in barrels like wine or whisky. The longer it sits the darker and more caramelized it gets. With fake balsamic they just add sugar and boil it down. Real vinegar can cost you a bit more but I am here to tell you.. TOTALLY WORTH IT.  We picked this bottle up from a small shop in Torre del Benaco on Lake Garda. You can sample the olive oils and vinegars like wine. You may not think that sounds appealing but until you have tried it you don't really know what you are missing. It's DELICIOUS!

I decided to saute the corgettes and a bit of fennel in some olive oil and vinegar to add a bit more flavor. It tasted fine but in the future I may skip this step and leave everything raw and fresh.

For the chicken I have been using my George Foreman Grill as we don't have access to a legit grill. It definitely gets the job done and is easy to clean but sometimes I feel it can leave the meat a bit more dried out. Especially chicken. So I decided this time to tenderize the chicken before grilling. It certainly worked and will do it going forward. Just butterfly your chicken, cover with plastic wrap, and use a mallet to tenderize. 

After grilling up the chicken it's time to throw the salad together. Just layer it up!

Recipe Serves 4

Ingredients-

2 large Chicken Breasts

1 Head of Fennel

6 Mandarins

6 Mini Corgettes or 1 regular Zucchini

8 cups (Spinach, Arugala, Mixed Greens, your choice)

1 TB + 1/4 c Olive Oil 

1 TB + 1/4c  Balsamic Vinegar

 Dash of Salt

Dash of  Pepper

 

 

Directions-

Thinly slice fennel, set aside

Thinly slice corgettes/zucchini, set aside

Slice up mandarins, set aside

Butterfly chicken. Place plastic wrap over top and use mallet to tendorize. 

Sprinkly chicken with salt and pepper then grill up. Because it is butterflied it will take less time to grill so watch CLOSELY

(this may be skipped) While chicken is grilling, Heat pan on Medium/High, add 1 TB of Olive Oil and 1 TB Balsamic to pan. Add Corgettes and saute for 5-7 minutes. Until tender but not too soggy

Once chicken is done, allow to sit for 5 minutes. Then cut into slices

Begin assemblying salad 

Top off with a bit of quality olive oil and balsamic

ENJOY!