What do you have for dinner after the holidays are but a distant dream? I know the perfect thing.
It is hot. Delicious. And does not include any, heaven help us, holiday leftovers.
And, best of all, not only will my Italian husband love it, but I have two gorgeous and incredibly easy vegetarian recipes created just for us, below.
Ah, when it is cold outside (and baby, it is cold these days), there are few things more satisfying that a nice bowl of pasta.
First, I'm going to tell you how to make it. Then, I'm going to give you not one, but two, glorious recipes created just for us: The first for an eggless vegetarian pasta, the second for a healthy, delicious, insanely easy vegetarian sauce.
Gonna make me some pasta
Never made pasta? Then the best, easiest way I know is below. Of course, you certainly can do this by hand. Just be prepared to wear some flour!
Pasta, the fast way
Now this is how I make pasta. First, I use a KitchenAid stand mixer. Don't have one? If you are not a big cook, it is not critical. But I use mine, hmmm, I'd say about two or three times a month for bread and other goodies and I am glad it is around.
Second, and this is the great part, I use the KitchenAid Pasta Excellence Kit. This kit comes with everything you need to make the vegetarian pasta recipe, below. In fact, you can also make everything from lasagna to ravioli.
So here is how it works
First, you make the dough. There is a vegetarian recipe, below, you can use. Now, you can certainly make your dough on the counter, and I've give you instructions on how to do so, below, but it is a whole lot easier (and cleaner) to make it in the mixer.
Second, you attach the pasta sheet roller to your KitchenAid. You feed your pasta dough through the roller, adjusting the roller wheels each time for thinner and thinner dough until you end up with the thickness you want.
Third, you decide what type of pasta you want. Lasagna? Then just use the roller to make pasta sheets. Fettuccine or spaghetti? Then swap out the roller for the appropriate cutter (there are two in this kit) to cut your pasta to the shape you like. Or, if you are feeling ambitious, you fill the ravioli maker with whatever ravioli filling you want and make fresh ravioli.
Then you either cook your pasta (and cook it quickly because fresh pasta doesn't need long before it is al dente) or dry it and store it to enjoy another day.
But is fresh pasta worth the work?
All I can say is that it is a revelation.
Vegetarian recipe for Eggless Pasta with Sauteed Zucchini for four
So here's the recipe I have been promising. This exclusive recipe is from a very pretty site called Italian Notebook. If you like all things Italian (and who doesn't I ask you?) then it is certainly worth a visit (and, even better, you can subscribe for free, right here).
1 lb. of semolina durum wheat flour (or a 50-50 mix of same with white flour)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Warm water (approx. up to 1/2 cup)
A pinch of salt
If you have a KitchenAid, then mix away. If not, this is easy to make by hand. Simply pour the flour and the pinch of salt on a smooth work surface. Add the olive oil and then the warm water a bit at a time and knead until the dough becomes a smooth (not runny!) "elastic" ball. (Proportions may be modified for variety of humidities and other conditions.) Set this in a bowl and cover with a well-wrung out humid cloth for about an hour.
Next, roll out your dough and cut it into whatever pasta shape you like. The KitchenAid pasta kit is perfect for this; just follow the instructions I give, above.
Vegetarian sauce recipe
Those kind people at Italian Notebook wanted to make sure we had a great sauce to go with our pasta, so they also developed this wonderful vegetarian sauce recipe for us. Grazie!
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 or 3 zucchini
1 clove of garlic
For a traditional sauce, chop the zucchini in half long ways, then chop again into half-moons, add these to the chopped garlic and thrown in a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Saute until done.
Boil the pasta in salted water until al dente, drain (save some of this water in a glass prior), and add the pasta to the pan with the zucchini, sauteing another two minutes to mix the two. Add a bit of the pasta cooking water if necessary/too dry.
Serve immediately with a dusting of fresh ground pepper.