Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Daring Cooks make noodles. By hand, of course!


This month, Steph of Stephfood challenged us to make noodles or gnocchi or spätzle,  but without the use of motorized machines. I rarely make fresh pasta, so this was a nice incentive to do so. In fact, it reminded me that I could shop after work and have fresh pasta on the table in time for dinner, with not too much effort and not too many dirty dishes. That's just what I did one afternoon: I picked up basil, eggs and I looked for my favourite brand of ricotta but couldn't find it. In a fit of pique, I bought a large carton of milk and decided to make my own. 
The dried pasta
I made the pasta dough, set it aside, then made the ricotta and left it to drain. I rolled the pasta very thinly and cut it with the wavy cutter, then I hung it on my laundry rack to dry a bit. I shaved some asparagus into thin ribbons and tossed it in with the cooking pasta for a minute. I topped it with a few scoops of the very creamy ricotta and some basil oil, made by pureeing blanched basil and olive oil. I can assure you that it was delicious, but you may be wondering why there is no asparagus in the picture above. Well, just as I was plating the pasta, a thunderstorm rolled through and turned a bright early evening into a pitch dark night. The storm was over in 30 minutes or so, but that was too long to leave me with a plate of hot pasta. So, you get the next day version, with the pasta I dried thoroughly and no asparagus. It was really tasty too. So tasty that I had it for breakfast in the midst of frantically packing for 2 months away for work.

Just this week I decided to make the spätzle recipe that was also included in the challenge. I kept it simple and tossed it in lots of chopped parsley and topped it with onion bread crumbs and sage crisped in brown butter. I served it atop roasted green beans and green garlic and it was such a simple and satisfying meal. It was also nice that I could easily make it in a borrowed kitchen. 
Thanks for a great challenge Steph! I can't wait for the next one. Oh, wait--I'm hosting it! What will it be?? 
Find the full challenge PDF here, including recipes. I used this recipe for the ricotta (with ½ cup cream).
Blog-checking lines: Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

27 comments:

Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

Funny I made my friends to pasta from scratch one night and we had a blast. spätzle is not new to me but have never made sum...going on the list. I think you did a stupendous job.

chef_d said...

Love the wavy pasta! And wow, you made your own ricotta...I'm drooling thinking of all the flavors--nothing beats homemade! Great job!

yummychunklet said...

Great post and effort!

Melanie said...

I love the wavy noodles! And I've been thinking about that ricotta ever since Deb posted it. You've definitely inspired me to make it!

shelley c. said...

I love the wavy cutter you used to cut your noodles - they look fantastic! And fresh pasta during a storm actually sounds just about perfect.:) Your spatzle look wonderful, too - out of curiosity, how did you shape yours? That was the hardest part for me! :) Amazing work on the challenge, and good luck on that long business trip!!

Jojo said...

Your pasta is beautiful - and you did two version of pasta - well done and looks delicious!

Valerie said...

Mary, your pasta looks scrumptious! I've never made my own pasta before, but after seeing this, I may have to give it a go. :D

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

This just looks fabulous - so fresh and with good ingredients! You truly can't beat the homemade pasta. Well done.

Ruth H. said...

Mary, you amaze me! Homemade ricotta for a "quick" and easy dinner? Your pasta looks beautiful, and I love the spaetle with the green beans. Thanks so much for sharing, and I can't wait to see what youhave in store for us next month!

Carolyn said...

This looks amazing, job WELL DONE! I also love how you used the wavy cutter tool--genius! =P
www.cookinformycaptain.blogspot.com

Jo said...

You made your own pasta and ricotta? Very nice! I am going to have to give that ricotta recipe a try myself.

Jenni said...

Fantastic job! Your pasta looks beautiful, and I'm impressed that you made your own ricotta for it, too!!

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

Lovely pasta and spaetzle! Yum! I can't believe you pulled all that off before leaving home for so long.

I've always wanted to make my own ricotta - definitely need to give it a whirl sometime soon.

blepharisma said...

Both dishes look great! I can't wait to find out what you're challenging us to for August!

Valérie said...

Great job! I love your pictures! I wanted to try the spätzle, but had too many other things I wanted to try too. You're hosting the next challenge? Then it's sure to be a good one! Can't wait!

Rambling Tart said...

I LOVE your recipe, Mary!! It looks so creamy and I'm delighted you served it over roasted green beans. :-)

Bourbonnatrix said...

the spatzle looks so good! i admire your patience to make both fresh pasta, and cheese! crazy!

Elaine said...

This looks wonderful, Mary! I have always wanted to make my own pasta, but never have. So impressive that you made it by hand!

lifeisfull said...

You made soba before so making your own pasta now doesn't surprise me now it but still wowed me!! I like your wavy pasta. :)

Renata said...

The wavy pasta is so cute, and the ricotta-basil combination must have been delicious, I didn't even miss the aspargus that was hidden by the thunderstorm ;) As always, you did an amazing job on the challenge!

oggi said...

Your dried pasta ribbons are beautiful and look like they came from a gourmet shop; and with the sauce it's heavenly. Yum!

Oh, I'm excited already and can't wait for the challenge you chose for us.:)

Suzler said...

You're hosting the next one? How exciting!

Beautiful pasta and spätzle. :) I absolutely love the sound of that topping with the basil oil and the ricotta. Sounds like brilliant breakfast material. Much better than toast!

lisamichele said...

Those noodles cut with the serrated, wavy cutter are gorgeous! They look store-bought, and that's a huge compliment because only factories have the machinery to make them that perfect! Also love your spaetzle with the ricotta..umm..homemade ricotta. You are amazing!

My name is Andy. said...

your pasta looks great!!! and I love your spatzle.

Corina said...

I'm impressed you've managed to get your pasta so thin just by rolling by hand. I love what you've picked for the next challenge so I'm really looking forward to it.

Jojo said...

Your pasta with the ridged edges looks so delicate. Good for you for making your own ricotta - looks creamy and delicious! Great job :-)

HOA Mgr Lady said...

Of Course? of Course! Gee us humble Blog readers bow to your superior skills.