I have a fear of failure. I know it's not all that uncommon, but yeah, I have it. Despite all my instructors saying 'you learn more from failure than from success' I'm still always nervous about screwing up my dishes. I know what they're saying is true, but it's downright sad when something you've put a ton of effort into just falls flat! Last time I failed to make a few dishes I stopped cooking for about a month- which of course only made things worse.
This fear also makes me avoid anything related to dough. I don't have as much experience working with it, and it can be so temperamental I can't shake off the feeling that i'll just screw it up. Not the best mentality I know.
At my last Techniques of Cooking class we covered pasta. And in this case, we learned how to make pasta ourselves. This was definitely an area I've been avoiding- it just seems hard, you know? Not only is it working with dough, but it's pasta making! Pasta is sacred!!
BUT as I learned it's actually not that hard?? Who knew when you try things out they might turn out ok.
So yes. I made my own pasta. From scratch. And it was a grand old success! (thank god, cause it took a few hours to bang out hundreds of orecchiette). I guess this goes to show that the old diatribe of "you never know until you try" actually holds true. And I'm glad as hell I tried.
My confidence boost from this class was much needed. I can kick my stubborn ass into actually baking more and working with different types of dough. Even if I fail I know I've succeeded at something I thought was way above my level at least once- so that's enough of a motivator
Explaining how to make pasta is a bit difficult. But I found a tutorial online that I think sums it up pretty well which can be found here.
I noticed they didn't mention a few things though. I personally used 2 1/4 cups of 00 flour and a cup of semolina, however, you can use their recs as well. After kneading the dough, it needs to be shrink wrapped tightly and let sit for at least 10 minutes so it softens up. And lastly, if you wish to infuse it with anything (as I did with saffron here) grab a pinch of the spice and let it sit in the warm water so the flavor diffuses.
AND of course if you don't want to spend 1.5-2 hours of lovingly crafting pasta, it's available in dried form as well.
- 2 bunches of broccoli rabe
- 6 anchovies
- 1 lb orecchiette pasta
- 1 lb spicy Italian sausage split in half with the casings removed
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp fresh hot red pepper (minced) or hot red pepper flakes
- 1 cup of pecorino romano cheese, grated
- Bring a large pot full of water to a boil and fill a separate large mixing bowl full of ice water
- Remove the course stems from the broccoli rabe and chop the remainders into 2 inch pieces
- Add salt to the pot of boiling water and blanch the broccoli rabe for about 1-2 minutes, then remove and place into icewater. SAVE the cooking water
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add in the sausage and saute until brown. Make sure to break up the sausage during this process into small pieces. This should take about 10 minutes
- Add the anchovies, garlic, hot red pepper flakes, and saute for an additional 2 minutes (until fragrant)
- Return the water to a full boil and add the orecchiette. The water should be (to quote my instructor) as salty as the ocean. Boil for around 8 minutes
- Just before the orecchiette are al dente, add broccoli rabe to sausage mixture in the skillet, toss it, and heat over low-med.
- When pasta is done, stir in 1/4 cup of the Pecorino, season with salt and pepper (to taste and if needed) and serve with extra cheese on the side ;)