More and more people are avoiding carbs and sugar. Since I started making my own pasta, I’ve learned two things:
- Make a big batch and dry it – it’s a mission to make on demand and after a long day in the office you don’t want a long evening in the kitchen, kneading, rolling and cutting pasta, and then waiting for it to dry long enough to cook.
- We eat fewer carbs with homemade pasta.
Here’s the thing: I make my pasta with a ratio of flour at 100 g : 1 (jumbo) egg. When I used to cook with commercial pasta, we were eating 200 g of dry pasta between the two of us; not anymore. Now, we eat 100 g of dry homemade pasta, i.e. 50 g per portion and then we still sometimes have some left for lunch the next day. I can only think that this is because of the protein content.
The standard batch I make, which does us about four meals, is 4 eggs and 100g cake flour. To make the pasta dough, whizz the egg and flour (to which you’ve added a pinch of salt) together using the dough blade in your food processor and adding the eggs one at a time and add a glug of olive oil (this stops the dried pasta from becoming too brittle). The mixture will initially look like breadcrumbs and then begins to clump together. Turn it out on to a board and knead until it’s a smooth dough. Rest for at least an hour before rolling it out with a pasta machine, allowing the sheets to dry a little before cutting.
And now for the drunken bit
So, after a long day in the office, pepped up comfort food, is the order of the day. This is a really simple dish which you can make with either tinned or fresh tomatoes or even a combination of both. I’m not always “pukka”, so I do use onions which are sautéd with loads of garlic, to which I add the tomatoes. The whole lot is simmered to a nice, thick sauce.
Tomatoes can often be acid, and the gurus say to add little sugar. I’ll do that, depending on what I’m using the sauce for, and how ripe the tomatoes are – taste first, to be sure. But for a richer flavour, instead of the sugar, and to give what seems like a boring meal a bit more “zing”, add a dash of red wine and some balsamic vinegar. Together, these take the edge off the acid and give you a richer flavour.
If you’re worried about the alcohol: it will cook off….. While the tomatoes are bubbling away, roast some pepper (green or yellow), cut into strips – takes about 20 minutes. Cook the pasta when you’re ready. Because I cook my sauce in a wok (and a whole load of other things, too), once the pasta is ready, I drain it and add it to the sauce and ensure the pasta and sauce are well integrated, along with some roughly torn, fresh basil.
If you’re wanting to impress, put the pasta into a beautiful, large serving dish and top with the roasted pepper. Alternatively dish up straight from the pot on to individual plates. Either way, it’s voila and bellissima! (With apologies to those whose heritages I may have offended…) Serve with a fresh, leafy green salad and, of course, your favourite tipple!
© Fiona’s Favourites 2014