Homemade Fettucine

Homemade pasta is just to die for. Yes, it requires extra work but once you’ve done it once or twice, it’s far more enjoyable than you think. The pasta maker itself is about $70 and it’s definitely worth every penny. You’ll use it way more than you would expect and the bit of labor required is definitely worth it. Today was the first time I used to attachment for the maker, where it will cut your pasta for you into fettuccine. It is just AMAZING.
Now, the only explanation I will give for the pasta making will be brief here. When you go to roll your pasta, use a racquetball sized piece of dough every time. And make sure to really coat your dough with flour…trust me, you don’t want to learn the hard way of what happens if you don’t do this. Have the dough go through the machine at the widest setting, folding it into a rectangle every time. Add flour as needed! Once it has smoothed out, start changing the settings gradually until you get a nice, long sheet of thin pasta dough. Once again, make sure to COAT your pasta so it doesn’t stick. Once you have your sheets, put it through the fettuccine attachment, hang them to dry for 5-10 minutes, cover with flour and allow to dry in a “nest” on parchment paper.
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Dried pasta is just way too…chewy. Homemade pasta stays extremely light and feels like it’s melting in your mouth. And it surprisingly stays just as good for leftovers the next day. I won’t lie, the part I hate the most is kneading the dough. It seems like it’ll never become smooth but it really does.
Now here comes the super McGyver part. Usually, you need to use a pasta drying rack, which looks like a stripped down tree where you hang your pasta to dry. I never really thought I would need it when I was registering gifts for our wedding…lo and behold, the day came and I was pissed at myself for not getting one. But instead of going out and buying one, I improvised. With a clothing hanger. Hanging off my blinds. Was it extremely redneck of me? Yes, absolutely. But it worked and that’s all that matters.
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This weekend, we also decided to go to our local “Whole Foods” and bought a ton of salamis, cheese, and the lovely pancetta. Pancetta is cured pork belly that goes great with pasta. Usually, you will see it used in carbonara. It’s not a completely obscure ingredient and considering I was able to procure it in Pensacola means that it can virtually be purchased anywhere.
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Ingredients:
Pasta dough (see my Butternut Squash Ravioli recipe)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 pound diced pancetta
1/2 onion, finely diced
4-5 garlic cloves, finely diced
5-6 basil leaves
dash of pepper and salt
1. In a large sauce pan, heat up olive oil over medium heat. (Also start boiling your water)
2. Add your pancetta and allow it to cook until it starts turning light brown.
3. Add your onions and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add your garlic.
4. Start boiling your pasta; this will take about 3-4 minutes.
5. Add the heavy cream and about 2 ladles of the pasta water.
6. Add pepper, salt, and basil.
7. Toss your pasta in sauce and serve!
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Ricotta Cheese Pound Cake

I had a ton of ricotta cheese left over from making tortellini the other weekend. I am not one to waste food so I figured I would incorporate it into a baked good. And it ‘TWAS a good decision. Oh and the homemade tortellini? That’s a post for the future.

It seems like 50% of the time, people I know HATE ricotta cheese. I absolutely love it. Its texture and smoothness makes pastas and baked goods super awesome. Now, for the skeptics: you would never know it was in this loaf of pound cake. I’m serious. The cheese blends perfectly into the batter and after the loaf is done baking, you have an extremely light and soft pound cake, not a dense and sugary one.

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Oh, by the way, it is HOT here already. Well, I think it’s hot, it’s been above 70 degrees here. Most people probably think I’m crazy but I thrive in cold weather. Give me hot weather? I become an angry grinch.

If you’ve got some ricotta cheese left over or want to try out a new pound cake recipe, try this sucker out!

Time: 1 hour
Makes 1 5×10″ loaf

Ingredients:
2 sticks softened butter
1.5 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
3 large eggs
1.25 cups sugar
1.5 cups flour, sifted
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest

1. In a large bowl, sift your dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder). Set aside.
2. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, start mixing your butter, cheese, and sugar until it is light and fluffy.
3. Add your eggs one at a time.
4. Add the vanilla and lemon zest.
5. On low speed, add your dry ingredients in 4 parts.
6. Once incorporated, pour your batter into a buttered loaf pan.
7. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour or until it is golden brown and passes the poke test.
Enjoy with some whipped cream and berries!

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Ugly Donuts

Holy crap, it’s been a while. It’s been extremely busy around here…big life changes. Updates to come.

I’ve been recording the show “Donut Showdown,” although my husband couldn’t care less for it. Have you seen it? I mean, come on. You get to watch people make donuts, aka a wheel of crack. Watching the show makes me want to just jump into a pile of donuts, glaze and all.

Today is also the day I finally feel better. You see, working around students who have no sense of cleanliness means you are prone to getting sick. All the time. Two weeks of sickness made me really appreciate hand sanitizer and Mucinex. As well as Kleenex. I polished off two boxes worth. Overflowing garbage can? Check. Bright red nose? OH yes.

So since I felt better today, I thought it would be the perfect time to make donuts. I remember my boss at my first job at an Italian bakery would punch out these donuts out of a huge sheet of dough. It was quite impressive…I would have lost a finger somehow. Now, frying is my deepest, darkest fear. Is it just me, or is anyone else afraid that they might fry off their finger?

I also figured glazed would be the way to go. I’ve never been a fan of chocolate glazed donuts or filled donuts. But glazed donuts? Give it to me! Right meow. We also bought WAY too many strawberries yesterday and I figured I would make a strawberry glaze as well…and it was a good decision.

OH…the reason I call these “ugly” is because well…look at them! I didn’t have a donut cutter so I resorted to using my multi-sized biscuit cutters…meaning the hole in the center turned out to be way too large. But, regardless, these turned out perfect.

1As for the glaze, it is an incredibly easy step for these donuts. I imagine any fruit could be used in a glaze, as well as any flavoring like any extracts or powders.

Time: 2.5 hours

Makes about 10-12 donuts

Ingredients:
3+ cups of all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup hot water
3 tablespoons butter
1 packet active yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
(*I used a bread machine to knead my dough, but if you need to do it by hand, you can follow these steps.)

1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, hot water, and honey. Mix and allow to proof (all foamy and bubbly).
2. In a small pot, bring your milk, butter, and salt to a simmer. Once you see the milk steaming, turn it off.
3. In a large bowl, place 1 cup of your flour and pour in your hot milk mixture. Mix carefully.
4. Add your yeast mixture and 1 cup of flour. Mix thoroughly.
5. Add your remaining flour. You want the dough to be soft and workable. If it’s too tough or dry, add some more warm milk. If it’s too sticky, add some more flour.
6. Knead until the dough is really smooth. This will probably take about 8-10 minutes.
7. Place in a bowl and allow to double in size. A great way to have dough rise is to warm up your oven (then turn it off!) and place your bowl (covered with a towel) inside.
8. For the glaze, mix 3:1 powdered sugar and whole milk. You want the mixture to be quite ‘goopy.’ I completely forgot to measure here so…sorry! Also, at this point if you want to use a fruit, pulverize your fruit into a liquid and add enough powdered sugar to make it goopy as well. Set aside.
9. Roll out your dough to about 1/2″ thick. Cut out your dough, place on parchment paper, and allow to rise for about 30-45 minutes.
10. Heat up your frying oil over medium heat. I used about 3-4 cups of vegetable oil. The way I tell if my oil is ready is by taking a wooden spoon or chopstick and sticking into the oil to the bottom of the pan. If it starts bubbling, it’s ready.
11. Carefully put in your donut. You will see it turning golden brown. At this point, flip your donut. I used wooden chopsticks to fry and remove my donuts…easy and disposable!
12. Remove from the oil and allow to cool off on a cooling rack.
13. Once cooled (it will be slightly warm to the touch), dip your donuts away in your glaze! Place back on the cooling rack and allow to sit for about 10 minutes. This will allow the glaze to be soaked up by the fried dough.
14. Enjoy!

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