Making Fresh Pasta. Oh Yes You Can.

As I sit here Sunday afternoon, still sipping my reheated morning coffee and keeping an eye on yet another Winter blast on the way, I have four thoughts:

1) Our local weatherman lied.

2) I really need a manicure.

3) Why is it not April?

3) Make fresh pasta in small batches.

It’s a lot of fun, believe me, but dude, what you think is not a lot of dough ends up taking up the entire table, four chair backs and any body limb you’re not utilizing.

Is it worth it? OH YES.

Fresh Sun-Dried Tomato Farfalle with Red Onion, Spinach and Peppers:

What it took for 2:

* 2 cups bread flour

* 3 eggs

* 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (we had some from our summer garden, but you can use store-bought)

* 3 garlic cloves, minced

* 1 red onion, thinly sliced

* 2 cups baby spinach

* 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced

* 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper, diced

* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

* fresh parmesan shavings, for garnish

To make fresh pasta, you can either use a rolling pin, or a pasta machine, which we have, so that’s the route we took.

In a small skillet, saute the minced garlic in a Tbs. of olive oil.

In a small food processor, pulse the sun-dried tomatoes and sauted garlic until it almost becomes a puree. Set aside.

On a clean surface, pour the 2 cups of bread flour and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and the pulsed sun-dried tomatoes. With a fork, break up the eggs and start incorporating the dough. Then, with your hands work the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for one hour.

Take the dough out of the fridge and divide into four balls. You can freeze two of the balls for later use, or go ahead and make a TON of pasta now.

Set the pasta machine on the thickest setting and run the dough through it, 2 times. Fold the ends in and run it through a few more times, as the dough spreads to the width of the machine. Adjust the settings to the the thinnest and run the dough through maybe 3 more times. Have a lot of space on your table ready because it will be very long. One you get the desired sheet of pasta, you can trim the ends for a more unified look, or keep it homemade and a tad rough. I’m a bit on the impatient side, so we kept it jagged.

Take a pizza cutter and run it lengthwise to create long strips. Then, using a crinkly pasta cutter, cut the strips crosswise to create small rectangles. Pinch the center of each shape, and voila, farfalle!

(We made spinach pappardelle too, but that’s for another day, another post… another life.)

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the fresh farfalle to the pot. Cook for only 2 minutes. Nice, huh?

Heat a couple Tbs. of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet and saute the onions and peppers for about 5 minutes, until they start to brown on the edges just slightly. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the farfalle to the pan. Add the spinach and toss it around just a bit to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, garnish with a good drizzle of olive oil, parmesan shavings and some healthy grinds of black pepper. Then experience full satisfaction from your hard work. The taste is just unlike anything else. I promise.

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