After diving deep into the topic of the gender gap in music, here’s a subject that’s easier to digest: PASTA. I don’t know exactly what it is about pasta, that just fills me with pure joy that I can’t explain. Like many people, pasta is the first dish I learned to cook. I’m also part Italian but I’m not going to blame my obsession for pasta on that.
Honestly, I can’t imagine a time or place where I’d say no to a plate of my favourite carbs. I sometimes even eat cold leftover pasta in the morning before going to school. I could go into deep conversations with my friends about what pasta shapes are the best and why spaghetti is the worst kind of pasta.
I’m not a cook, in fact I know very little about cooking, but I still wanted to share my three go-to pasta recipes for when I’m alone and lazy, felling a bit fancy or when I have guests over and want to be even fancier.
The first dish is, among my friends, known as “Karma Pasta”, because since I discovered this sauce, I have the urge to share the recipe with everyone, so here you go.
What you need:
dried pasta of your choice (I recommend Rigatoni),
200 ml cream,
2tbsp olive oil,
± 9 mushrooms,
2 tbsp soy sauce (preferably Tamari).
The good thing about this recipe is that making the sauce takes about the time, it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta, so it’s super quick. So, you want to boil your pasta while you make the sauce, I don’t think I need to explain to you how to cook pasta. First, you want to dice about half an onion (or more if you want to) and put them in a saucepan with olive oil and let this simmer until the onions turn translucent. Next you want to chop the mushrooms to a size that pleases you (don’t forget that mushrooms shrink when you heat them up) and add them to the onions, now add pepper (DON’T ADD SALT). Let this fry for a few minutes, until the mushrooms are slightly browned, before adding cream and soy sauce. It’s very important you don’t underestimate the power of soy sauce, because it’s always saltier than you think. Anyway: TADA that’s it
I recommend grating some parmesan over the pasta once it’s plated.
Next up: The fancy but not too fancy pasta dish
For this one I recommend making your own pasta, because it’s really worth it, that’s why I’m sharing my very secret (not so secret) pasta recipe with you.
For this recipe it would be ideal if you have a pasta machine, you can also work around it but it will be very labor intensive.
For 2 servings:
300g flour (ideally 00 flour)
1 egg yolk
Pile the flour up on your work surface and gently flatten the pile so you have some sort of crater in the center and a rim on the side. Now pour all your eggs into the center of the crater, break up the yolks with a fork and with circular motion slowly start incorporating flour from the walls on the side. Once you notice that you’re not getting far with the fork anymore, start kneading the dough with your hands until it becomes homogenic. Now: knead the dough for at least 8 to 10 minutes, so the gluten can develop, this is what makes a good dough. Once you feel that your dough is soft but and a little stretchy, wrap it up and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30mins so more gluten can develop.
After taking the dough out of the fridge knead it for a couple more minutes and divide it into small sections before rolling it out with your pasta machine or a rolling pin. If you don’t have pasta machine, roll it out as thinly as possible. If you do have a pasta machine start at the widest setting and step by step you can thin out your dough up until setting 2 or 3 on your machine. Now: if you don’t own a machine you have to cut out the Tagliatelle one by one with a knife. If you are working machine, simple choose either the Spaghetti or Tagliatelle and roll the dough through the attachment. Boil the pasta in heavily salted water for 2-3 minutes. And voilà!
For this fancier type of pasta I often make a grilled pepper sauce, because it’s fancy but doesn’t take too much time.
6 red peppers
1 garlic clove
Preheat the oven to 250*C on recirculating air. Cut the peppers in half, remove the stems and place them on a making tray with the peel looking up. Let them grill in the oven until the skin turns black. While the peppers grill, dice the onion and a garlic clove and let it sizzle in some olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan, until the onion turns translucent. Once you take the tray out of the oven gently peel of the skin, cut the peppers into pieces and add them to the onion and garlic. Add a little bit of water, if you have the feeling that the ingredients are burning. Cover the pan and let it simmer over medium heat until the peppers are fully cooked. Now blend everything until it becomes a velvety sauce and season it with some salt, pepper and basil. Pour it over some pasta and that’s it.
Lastly, this is a very fancy pasta recipe that you can’t make without a pasta machine and is very time and labour intensive. But once again it’s worth the effort. We’re making my special ravioli. I only make them for people I really like a lot.
You can use the same pasta recipe than in the pepper sauce recipe. You just need to roll out your dough a bit thinner than before, it should not be thicker than the second (thinnest) setting on your pasta machine.
5 dried tomatoes (in oil)
This is easy: Cut the tomatoes into small pieces, zest the lemon, put everything in a bowl et voilà. Adjust the seasoning to you pleasing, it often depends on the ricotta how much salt you need to add. You don’t need to add nutmeg so just add the spices you like and as much as you like. I repeat I’m not a cook.
Once your dough and your filling is ready you can start ravioling. There’s probably a lot of YouTube videos that show you how to make Ravioli much better than I could possibly describe, but I’ll try. Always have two sheets of dough ready, on one side lay down little dollops of the filling with a teaspoon at least 1cm apart. Now cover that with the second sheet and seal the ravioli. It’s important that as little air as possible gets trapped inside the pockets, otherwise they could explode when you cook them. Once they are all sealed you can cut them out with a special ravioli cutter or just a regular knife and boil them in heavily salted water for 2-3 minutes.
300g cherry tomato (or any other kind of tomato)
3 garlic cloves
100ml olive oil
The sauce that I like to pair with my fancy ravioli is very simple. Cut the onion into Long stipes or rings and throw them in a large pan with a lot of olive oil and 3 unpeeled garlic cloves. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half (If you use big tomatoes just cut them into small dices) and add them to the pan. Season with some salt and pepper and let this simmer until the water has run out of the tomatoes and you are left with a nice velvety and oily sauce. Lastly at a few leaves of fresh basil and that’s it.
There were my three go to pasta recipes. Please be aware that making fresh pasta need some practice and you’ll get a feeling for how the dough is right, as you practice.
That’s it for now.