Most of my experience with homemade pasta has been in restaurants where a plateful is priced exorbitantly but is so silky and flavourful that you really can’t blame them for charging $20 for some tomatoes, a few eggs and a cup of flour.
I don’t clearly remember eating it growing up — all that prep time when you could just throw a handful of spaghetti in a pot and boil it for 10 minutes? Though I do have a mental picture of my dad cutting up noodles for a big batch of his infamous “Delicious” (kind of a beef stew with veg, always served over egg noodles).
Last night was date night and it was raining all day. Alan texted me to see if I had any ideas for dinner. I suggested pasta. From there, we both though, “Oh, that will be really simple to put together.” Then, our thoughts diverged slightly. I texted him, “How about we make the pasta from scratch‽” He: “You’re relentless! Sounds good!”
Sauce ingredients: deceptively plain-looking, but oh, so flavourful. Especially if you cook 'em in butter!I’m lucky enough to have a pasta machine (or access to one, though I know my mum hasn’t used it in over three years) and I’m not sure I would have had the patience to do this with a rolling pin. We followed the Joy of Cooking pasta recipe and had no trouble at all. If you don’t have access to that holy tome, I’m sure Canadian Living and Jamie Oliver will steer you right. It smelled really eggy and I thought that might come through in the final product, but it absolutely did not.
As good as this fresh pasta was (silky, supple, sauce-bearing) it was nearly overshadowed by Alan’s amazing Tomato-Goat Cheese sauce.
Saute diced onion and a handful of sliced cremini mushrooms in butter until onions are soft and transluscent, being careful not to brown them. Add 3 cloves of garlic, diced. Add half a teaspoon of crush red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a splash of red wine. Cook for a few minutes. Strain most of the juice from a large can of whole tomatoes (reserve the juices for later, in case) and add them in there. Add a handful of fresh basil, torn or chopped. Start to break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, but don’t worry too much because they’ll break down some more as they cook (we blended ours because we used all the tomato juice in the can). Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 45 minutes.
From here, you can either go with a chunkier sauce, or bring out the immersion blender for a textured, but smooth one. Blend it (or not) and be sure to leave some lumps and bumps. Add the chevre (we used about 1/3 cup for the batch), and stir through until the sauce becomes a pinky, pale red.
(If it hadn't been 8 p.m. when we were rolling things out, I would have been very tempted to make ravioli. It's coming though, some day!)