Sooo…I said I missed blogging, but then I haven’t posted. Good thing this is just a hobby. 🙂 To be honest, I never intended to share this recipe anyways, but there was some interest after I posted a picture on Facebook, so here I am with IPhone pictures and a rambling recipe.
I haven’t “introduced” you yet, but my man-friend is awesome. Awesome for a lot of reasons, but specifically for this post, awesome at giving gifts. For Christmas, he got me a Kitchenaid mixer. A bright red, shiny, glorious Kitchenaid mixer which is obviously my favorite kitchen appliance. To make it even better, for my birthday last month (25 – where is my life going?!) he bought me the pasta maker attachment. Now, I can have FRESH PASTA ANY TIME I WANT. Yeah, it is as awesome as it sounds.
This black pepper pasta was the third pasta I made, after a basic egg pasta and a basil pasta. I go with the fettuccini cutter, because fettuccini is the best pasta shape (after wagon wheels, obviously). For this recipe I used a semolina pasta dough, as an experiment, but this dough is easily adaptable to all purpose flour as well.
Black Pepper Pasta
(Makes 1.25 lbs dough)
3 1/3 cups semolina flour (or all purpose – I use King Arthur)
2 tbsp water (reduce to 1 tbsp for all purpose flour)
2 tbsp oil (omit if using all purpose flour)
2 tsp cracked pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1. In Kitchenaid mixer fitted with paddle attachment mix all ingredients 30 seconds. Change to dough hook, mix 2 minutes. (or do it all by hand!)
2. Knead by hand 1-2 minutes. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.
3. Divide dough into 8 pieces (4 pieces if using all purpose flour)
4. Run dough through pasta roller on setting 1, folding in half after each roll. Repeat roll and fold 5-6 times until dough is uniform with no holes and as wide as the roller. (Or, roll by hand as thin as possible)
5. Progress to setting 5, running dough through each setting once.
6. Divide the (very) long sheets in half or thirds, dust with flour and continue until all of the dough is rolled.
7. Run each dough sheet through pasta cutter of your choice. (Or, cut into shapes of your choice – a pizza cutter works well!)
After the dough is cut, I like to portion some of it into fettuccini bird’s nests by placing one sheet worth of noodles lightly into a muffin cup and freeze them. Since I am cooking for two, I don’t need to cook a whole pound+ of pasta at once. For this batch, I made 8 bird’s nests and hung the rest on a coat hanger while I prepped the sauce/waited for the water to boil.
Of course, fresh pasta is awesome, but if you don’t have a pasta maker, or are feeling lazy (I’m not judging, I eat cereal for dinner sometimes too!) – just use dry pasta and make the sauce! And no, I am not afraid of recipes that use excessive amounts of butter and/or cream, but I’ve been hearing a lot about cauliflower based sauces and pizza crusts and I thought I’d try it out. Now, this doesn’t perfectly mimic either the texture or taste of traditional Alfredo, but it is delicious, and that is coming from someone who doesn’t actually like cauliflower and loves Alfredo.
Caulifower “Alfredo” Sauce
5 cups vegetable broth
6 cups frozen (or use fresh!) cauliflower florets
1/2 cup 1/2 & 1/2 (or milk or cream)
2 tbsp minced garlic (6-8 cloves)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
1. Bring vegetable broth to a boil.
2. Cook cauliflower until tender. Reserve 1 cup of broth.
3. In a blender (or if you are using an immersion blender, just use the pot), combine all ingredients including cup of broth and blend until smooth.
4. Serve hot over pasta or rice.