Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I Did It!

Tonight I made my own pasta!

Taking advantage of my second last night housesitting chez maman, with her lovely biggish kitchen, I got all excited. Literally, I was thinking about it before I went to sleep. Because you see, it has to be perfect. It is one of my three cooking challenges. I can't love pasta this much, study recipes, drone on wax lyrical about the food of Italy, and then when I finally make it, make slop. That would hurt.

And...for the First Pasta, which sauce? I thought about it, and thought about it, and remembered my beloved parpadelle with chicken liver and sage, a Stefano di Piero recipe that I picked up years ago and hold dear.

So off I went. 100g flour, 1 egg. What a fabulous equation. Hmm, too sticky, there's not much here. I added more flour, still not much. I should say that I didn't really measure the flour, I just used rough tablespoons. I'm arrogant like that. At this point I realised this was not a portion going to make, so I doubled the proper amount of flour and another egg. Voila. A nice elastic dough.

I stumbled upon this clip of Gennaro Contaldo with Jamie Oliver on Youtube the other day, showing how to make pasta without a pasta maker. A pasta maker to me looks like a two-person job, at least for a newbie, so I was besotted with Gennaro's "romantic" method, rolling and slicing with a knife.

Except mum didn't have a rolling pin, but she must because she makes rugaliki, so it means I couldn't find it (I am a man after all). So I improvised with a long pasta container. Who the hell knows, but I got it as thin and as light as I could. It even passed Genaro's 'blowing' test. Wide slices, floured. My parpadelle are ready!

The chicken livers are my own recipe now, so I prepared them and got the water ready. In went the pasta ribbons - ooh the excitement, what would they do, stick together, float? no they were just as described - and after a couple of minutes they were done. Mixed into the sauce, into a bowl, and the verdict?

Delicious! Real pasta! A little rustic, which was good, and I'm sure it's because the dough couldn't get a proper rolling. Better rolling would make a silkier pasta. And the whole thing, with sauce, took less than an hour.

So I'll keep perfecting it, and bask in the excitement of having made my own pasta!

Parpadelle With Chicken Livers And Sage, serves 2
Adapted from a recipe from Stefano di Piero

Handful of chicken livers, trimmed if needed
1 Spanish/red onion, thinly sliced
6 sage leaves
Lug of cream

Cook the parpadelle while you make the sauce. Heat some oil in a frypan and add the livers. When browned, add the onion and sage leaves and stir to coat. Lower the heat so as not to overcook the liver, and saute until the onions have softened. Add the cream, season* and cook for another minute. You can add a nob of butter to enrich the flavour and loosen the delicious browned bits.
Drain the pasta reserving a little pasta water and add to the pan with the sauce. Stir through and serve.
* Don't season before as the salt will toughen the livers while they are cooking.

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Blogger Sarah said...


no photos??

glad it went well...been meaning to do it myself. I made gnocchi a couple of years ago...was fabulous but damned hard work and very messy.

9:28 AM  
Blogger Julia said...

Was just putting it up!

I used to make my own gnocchi years ago as well, one of those long but very satisfying jobs and it tastes so good...must get back into it.

9:38 AM  
Blogger surfercam said...

YUM! (except for the livers...)

10:33 AM  
Blogger Julia said...

Yep, no one likes them except for myself, my sister and mum, so it's a rare treat.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

looks fabbo - except the liver!

I just can't stomach liver for some father and sister will eat any sort of liver by the truck load... seared in butter and served with masses of pepper. Just the smell makes me sick though.

Pate is a different matter though...must be all the butter that makes the difference.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

I'd say it's the different texture of whole liver to pate that make people prefer the latter.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Hi Julia!
Looks like you didn't need my help after all. The proportions are the same as what I use. Did you let the dough rest before rolling it out? That always helps the finished pasta. I'll be posting some pasta recipes on Paul's blog shortly.

p.s. was that a typo in the post?

11:31 PM  
Blogger Julia said...

Yes, I let it rest. Look forward to your recipes!

The 'man' comment? No, no typo, I did a post a little while back about all my male characteristics, like how I can never find things that are just there.

1:47 PM  
Blogger The Gourmand said...

Whats all this nonsense about not liking livers? I love them.
You should buy yourself a pasta machine. Mikey bought me one last year. Before that I used my grandmothers machine. I think it was older than she was- they are cheap and last a lifetime!
For a moment Mikey and I were a bit confused about the "man" comment. Thanks for clearing it up.He he. :) X

7:50 PM  
Blogger eurobrat said...

Wow. Your food always looks extraordinary.

4:43 AM  

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