Homemade Pasta + Sundried Tomato Pesto
Dustin and I have discovered our Italian gene. We made homemade pasta with our new pasta maker (another wedding gift!) for the first time, and it came out perfectly! We were bracing ourselves for disaster after our gnocchi fail, but we needn't worry because this pasta was delicious. Unfortunately, making pasta at home is not an every night kind of occurence because it does take some patience and a decent bit of work, but it really takes your dish up a notch on the flavor scale and is perfect for a special night's dinner. I feel like this is one of those things we can cross off of our life's bucket list.
We decided to make a random Thursday night a special dinner. We were calling it The Perfect Evening. We were going to have our apartment looking perfect, and we were going to make homemade pasta and drink a nice bottle of white wine to relax. You see, we have been buying furniture for our living room and patio with wedding gift money to complete our apartment, but the gods have not been watching over us. First we had issues with our patio chairs, such that Home Depot is having to send us another one since a part got stuck due to bad instructions and poor error reversal that took hours out of poor Dustin's evening. Then the nice, expensive lamp we ordered is missing a part. The store gave us two sets of the shades, but no base. Unfortunately the store is local, unlike Home Depot, and were closed when we tried calling for a replacement. We just want our apartment to be done!
Fortunately for us, the second part of the evening— the homemade pasta and wine— turned out just as perfect as we had hoped. I perused homemade pasta recipes in search of the perfect one. In the end, we followed this most basic of pasta recipes that was posted on AllRecipes and doubled it to ensure we had enough. We did. But the original recipe says it serves three, and I would argue it only serves two as a main course.
We had to add the full amount of water, and we also added about a tablespoon of olive oil, as per some recommendations in the comments section.
First, we mixed the dough.
Then we kneaded it and let it rest.
We rolled it out into flat sheets using the pasta maker.
Next, we cut each sheet into thick fettucini noodles, also with the pasta maker.
Here are our beautiful noodles!
Then the pasta rested some more until it slightly hardened, at which time we boiled it for five minutes until it was perfectly cooked.
In the meantime, we made this delicious sundried tomato pesto from Oh She Glows. We wanted something super flavorful that would really complement and enhance the flavor of the homemade pasta. This was without a doubt the perfect choice. It tasted kind of like a cross between tapenade and basil with a punch of sundried tomato flavor. We learned our lesson with sundried tomatos some time ago back in Houston when we didn't know you needed to soak them for at least an hour in water before use unless they are packed in oil (which costs 3.5 times as much by the way). Those tomatoes tasted disgusting when we ate them, and we have never tried using sundried tomatoes again until now. It amazes me how far we've come in the kitchen.
We just used the recipe as a guideline to create our own pesto, so we didn't really measure ingredients. Instead we just added things until it tasted good, and boy was it ever. We also added some Parmesan cheese to the mix and used toasted mixed nuts instead of just walnuts because we bought a HUGE thing of mixed nuts at Costco. We've just become members, and we are kind of obsessed. You can get great deals, but it's a bit of overkill for just two people. I have rolls of paper towels stuffed in random places around my home now. Costco is a big deal up here because their headquarters are located here on the Eastside, so now that we are members, I feel we have been further indoctrinated into Northwestern culture.
But back to the food. This pesto was awesome. You should most definitely try this recipe. It explodes with flavor. We made it authentically in our molcajete with Dustin putting in a lot of arm work while I took pictures because for some strange our food processor isn't working even though the light turns on showing it's getting power. Weird. Eventually I'm sure we'll troubleshoot. I think having to use a little elbow grease made it taste that much better. One of the things I have really enjoyed about our little foray into vegetarianism is that we are able to focus on the flavors of ingredients that we might often ignore, like say sundried tomatoes, in favor of meat. Making this pasta vegetarian really helped us focus on the complexity of the sauce and the pasta itself.
Sprinkled with chunks of toasted mixed nuts for a little crunch, this pasta was probably one of the best, if the not the best thing we've made to date. This dish could seriously be served at a legitimate Italian restaurant. High five to us!
We sprinkled a little parmesan over the final product, and as Dustin so succinctly put it "I have nothing to critique about this meal. Everything was perfect." I would agree, except next time I'd like to try experimenting with whole wheat flour to make the pasta a little more nutrient dense. But for our first attempt at making pasta, I wanted to follow the recipe exactly and use the plain Jane all-purpose flour that was called for. Boy, am I happy that we did. Making homemade pasta does take some effort, but we had A LOT of fun doing it and the satisfaction we got (along with amazing tasting food that would have cost at least $12-14 dollars— if we were lucky— at an Italian restaurant) was absolutely worth it. We can't wait to do it again!