Sunday, January 23, 2011

Homemade Spaghetti with a lemon mascarpone sauce

I have never tried or even thought about attempting to make my own pasta until I stumbled upon this recipe.  I never knew the benefits of homemade pasta and why one would go through the time and effort when there is a plethora or varieties at your local super market.  Alas, I wanted to find out, so I found a recipe and watched lots of youtube videos to reassure myself in the steps.  So first things first is the ingredients list, this is the best part:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • A pinch of salt
On a very clean surface, pour out the flour and create a well, like you do with mashed potatoes.  Crack the eggs into the well of the flour. 

Add the salt and begin to incorporate the ingredients, being sure not to let the eggs escape.  This is the hard part, you need to knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball.  If doing it by hand, like me, it will take around 15 to 20 minutes.  If, however, you have a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, then it will only take about 5 minutes.  I am back at school and am very dearly missing my stand mixer so I have to do it the old fashioned way.  You may add drops of water along the way to help the dough come together.  Just don't add more than 1/3 of a cup.  Once the dough is smooth, cut into 4 sections and loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 1-3 hours.

sous chef!

Once the dough has rested you need to roll it out.  If you are lucky, you have a pasta machine like this, then you can roll pasta dough out no problem.  Just follow your machines instructions in getting the desired thickness of the dough.  If you don't have a pasta machine, like me, then grab your rolling pin and do it the old fashioned way. 

Liberally cover your cleaned surface with flour and begin rolling out the dough.  Be sure to rotate the dough to ensure an evenly rolled out dough.  You are looking for an overall thickness of about 1/8".  After all four sections are rolled out, then you can begin slicing into strips.  For this, roll your dough into a roll and begin slicing to your desired width.  For spaghetti you want to get it pretty thin.

Once all your dough has been sliced, place it on a cookie sheet lined with a towel and let sit to dry.  Or if you have a fancy pasta drying rack, use that.  While the pasta is drying, you can begin  on the lemon mascarpone sauce.  In a medium saucepan, not over heat, combine the following ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
Stir all the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.  Once the pasta is dried, throw it into a pot of boiling water that has been liberally seasoned with salt.  Boil until al dente, about 3 minutes.  Drain the pasta and add into the saucepan of mascarpone sauce over medium low heat.  Together with the pasta and sauce, we will add:

  • 5 cups of wash and dried spinach
  • 1/2 cup of toasted hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup of pasta water

Once the pasta and sauce are combined, add in the spinach, hazelnuts, and water.  Cook until the spinach is wilted.  Serve with fresh bread or rolls and enjoy.

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