Homemade Pasta

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I am so lucky to live with some of my absolute best friends- it really feels like I live with family. We’ve started a tradition of family dinners. Honestly, they usually happen spontaneously when we all talk about a new recipe we want to try. Last week we had a family dinner inspired by my friend Caroline who has a pasta maker and is our resident homemade pasta expert. She taught me how to make fresh spaghetti and WOW was it amazing. Here is Caroline’s fresh pasta recipe!

What you’ll need: 

2 1/4 cups flour (plus a little extra when using the pasta machine)

5 eggs

Pasta Machine

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What to do:

Put the flour into a bowl and separate it so there is a hole in the middle. Put eggs in the middle of the hole and beat them. Then mix the flour and eggs together. The dough should be somewhat wet- you can add additional flour if it’s too sticky.

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Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. After letting the dough rest, divide the dough into slightly smaller balls.

 

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Flatten the smaller dough balls and put through the pasta maker. There are six levels on every pasta maker and you want to put them through to the second to last level.

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Once they’re all flat, hang on the drying rack. Let them sit until they harden a bit (we waited around 10- 15 minutes) then put them through the cutting part of the machine. Then you’re ready to cook your pasta!

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Of course we needed some vino with our homemade pasta

Of course we needed some vino with our homemade pasta

Final product

Final product

Weekend in Sonoma

McGraw Vineyard

McGraw Vineyard

Last weekend I went to Sonoma to celebrate my birthday. Some of my Canadian relatives ventured to California to help celebrate. It was an amazing two days- here are some snapshots from the trip.

On Saturday, we went wine tasting at two wineries during the day- Caldwell Vineyard and Chateau St. Jean.

Our first stop- Caldwell Vineyard

Our first stop- Caldwell Vineyard

Pressing Grapes at Caldwell Vineyard

Pressing Grapes at Caldwell Vineyard

Beautiful Tasting Room at Caldwell Vineyard

Beautiful Tasting Room at Caldwell Vineyard

Sophie & me

Sophie & me

 

Beautiful Chateau St. Jean

Beautiful Chateau St. Jean

 

Tasting table at Chateau St. Jean

Tasting table at Chateau St. Jean

On Saturday night, we made an amazing meal in at our good friend’s home in Sonoma.

Beautiful outdoor set up for dinner

Beautiful outdoor set up for dinner

Menu for Saturday Night

Menu for Saturday Night

 

Pasta with my Creamy Kale Pesto

Pasta with my Creamy Kale Pesto

Delicious Caprese Salad

Delicious Caprese Salad

 

Quick & Easy Tomato Sauce

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I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Sip Savour Share. The blogger, Sophie, and I share the same love for Italian foodso I love making her recipes! This tomato sauce only takes about 30- 40 minutes and always tastes so fresh (because of all the natural ingredients). Not only is it delicious but it’s super healthy. I usually make a double batch every few weeks and use the sauce on several things during the week: mostly pasta and quinoa.

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Here is the recipe, via Sip Savour Share:

Quick & Easy Tomato Sauce
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp onions, minced
1 garlic clove, smashed
salt to taste
1 pint of tomatoes, chopped (don’t worry about this being perfect – it’s all about speed)
1 small pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tsp of butter
small handful of basil, sliced
grated parmesan to serve

1) Heat olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add garlic and onions and sauté until translucent. Add a pinch of salt.
2) Add chopped tomatoes. Bring to a rolling simmer, then reduce to slowly simmer.
3) After about 20 minutes, taste and season as required. Add red pepper flakes.
4) When sauce tastes ready, add butter and half of the basil. Stir.
5) Serve with the rest of the basil and parmesan.
6) Toss with fresh linguine, or any type of pasta.

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Homemade Gnocchi and Creamy Kale Pesto

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A couple weeks ago I was listening to my favorite cooking radio show, A Splendid Table. One of the guests said that when she was 16 years old she decided she was Italian. I’ve gone through a similar experience. I love Italy—Italian food, the culture and the beautiful cities. This love of Italy has grown after several family trips and it really hit home when I studied abroad in Florence and studied wine and food pairing—life doesn’t get much better than that. Most of my indulgent recipes are Italian dishes, although not all may stick to the traditional and classic Italian cuisine. I like to take many recipes and lighten them up to a more healthful version but also indulge every once and a while (cough cough this recipe).

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Here is a fairly simple recipe for gnocchi and creamy pesto. Gnocchi is the easiest pasta to make and is also really cheap. This recipe turned out really well and I am definitely going to try it again soon, especially because it’s such a great fall comfort food!

For the gnocchi:

3 small- medium sized potatoes

2 cups all- purpose flour

1 egg

For the creamy pesto:

½ cup pine nuts

1 small bunch kale, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves

1 ½ cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

½ cup nonfat milk

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Start by making the fresh gnocchi. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel potatoes and add to pot. Cook until tender but still firm, about 20 minutes. Drain, cool and mash with a fork or potato masher.

Combine the mashed potatoes, flour and egg into a large bowl. Knead until dough forms a ball. Shape small portions of the dough into long “snakes.” On a floured surface, cut snakes into half- inch pieces.

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Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop in gnocchi and cook for 3-5 minutes or until gnocchi have risen to the top; drain and serve.

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For the pesto, combine the basil, chopped kale and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the garlic. Pulse a few more times.

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Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Combine milk and flour into a saucepan and warm. Once the flour has dissolved completely and the combination has warmed, add the pesto from the food processor and stir.

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