As I mentioned earlier I have had a bit of time on my hands which is ending soon. One of my goals has been to get good at making pasta. I have made it several times in the past with mixed results. It never quite got to the level I wanted it to be. We can get Ohio City Pasta at our Farmers Market and they set the bar pretty high. The other issue is I am like the peanuts character Pig Pen with flour. The entire kitchen was a mess the last time I did it and I looked like Casper the friendly ghost. So this time I set out to learn from the past and get an acceptable pasta on the table. I am a fan of semolina flour and found that the pizza dough we like the best was a combination of regular and semolina flour. I have tried doing an all semolina pasta dough and it was not to my liking. This time I used 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of semolina with 2 eggs and 2 table spoons of water. I mixed the dough by hand with a fork and hand kneaded it. I did 3 batches 2 regular and one I also added 1/2 package of frozen spinach that I squeezed the water out and minced finely. I had to add a little more water or flour depending on how the dough was coming out. I then let them rest for 30 minutes. I ran one batch of the regular and spinach through our kitchen aid mixer pasta rollers as a fettuccine. These were hung with care on the drying rack. At this point they looked fabulous but the truth is in the tasting.
My next trial was to make ravioli. I made a quick filling from 1# ricotta, dash of nutmeg, 1 egg, 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, the remaining spinach and zest of 1/2 lemon. I assembled the ravioli and brushed one side with an egg wash so it would stick together and well they looked great as well.
So now came the big test. Care had made sauce for a meal earlier in the week and it was one of the best. I cooked each of the pastas and they were served with that sauce. The regular pasta was ….well it was actually great!! I was so happy it hit the mark. We tasted the spinach and …..it was even better!! I will use fresh spinach next time but the flavor come through even through the tomato sauce. So now we get to the ravioli. We both were really excited as we bit into the noodle portion it was perfect and then we hit the filling. What was that zinging taste?? The lemon. The filling was great but the lemon zest was overpowering even through the tomato sauce. It would have been unbelievable if it was not for that. Care mentioned that she would have not let me do it but alas I was left alone to my own devices. So next time I will make our own ricotta (it is easy and so much better than store-bought), fresh spinach and NO LEMON. All in all a good learning experience and the kitchen stayed pretty clean as I put bath towels everywhere. I am looking forward to branching out with other flavors as time permits. Any one have any fresh pasta hints to pass on??