Monday, March 23, 2009

When Words Fail

Sometimes in life, unavoidable situations occur which make people sad. I don't usually know what to say in such situations. A sympathetic 'I'm so sorry' is about all I can muster.

And sad people don't really think about food or even remember that they are hungry. But they do have to eat something. This is where you can help them.

Casserole-giving isn't a tradition in such situations in Argentina, but if you get the chance, leaving some slices of banana bread or a few brownies on the table might help some sad nibblers. Without being too specific, Guille also decided to invite over our saddened loved ones for a casual lunch (and an opportunity for them to leave the house).

Although we live above a gourmet pasta shop, we thought it would be worth it to make homemade pasta, along with tomato sauce, in order to squeeze every bit of love and care into lunch. Nothing fancy, just food.

Guille brought home a retro pasta maker last week and I had no idea how simple it would be to actually make it work (I'm always underestimating him). But he made me delicious spaghetti last week in the time it took me to whip up a simple pesto.

And so, Guille got it out again to make fettuccine and zini shaped pasta for our lunch. This recipe makes enough for 2 conservative servings but it is easy to double, triple, quadruple...

Egg Pasta
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 T. water
  • 1 T. oil
Whisk together flour and salt in large bowl. Add egg, water, and oil and stir until it comes together to form dough (adding additional flour as necessary). Turn out onto a floured surface and knead a few minutes to bring it together.

At this point we push it into the pasta maker while turning the hand crank (but you can roll it out and cut into strips). It took us a while with this thing but our guests even jumped in to help, momentarily distracted. It only takes a few minutes to cook fresh pasta - drop it into boiling water with a drop of oil. In the end, shared effort and a shared meal resulted in full bellies. And when a sad person says 'I'm full,' and you know that it's true, those words mean more than anything in the world.

Guille's Tomato Sauce
  • 2 T. evoo
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1 med bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can peeled, diced tomatoes
  • 1 Knorr veggie cube
  • 2-3 cups water
  • s & p to taste
  • 1/2 T. freshly chopped basil
  • 1/2 T. freshly chopped oregano
Saute onion and garlic in evoo over med high heat for 4 minutes. Stir in pepper and carrot, cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, 1 cup water, and veggie cube (or you could use 1 cups of veg stock). Season with s&p, drop heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, adding water (can use pasta water) every 5 minutes or so. Finally, stir in herbs and toss with cooked pasta.

There were leftovers, which Guille mixed with a couple dollops of Casancrem (not-so-sour cream), topped with shredded parm cheese, and baked for 10 minutes in a moderately hot oven.

To make brownies from scratch, follow Joy the Baker's recipe (I cut it in half and baked in a 7" round pan). You will never want to use a box again. Be sure to use quality cocoa powder - if you live in Argentina, that means you'll need to ask for it at a specialty cake store. I also left out the nuts and coffee, to create a simple chocolate brownie.


Joli said...

Your machine is cute...reminds me of my Play-doh toy as a kid!

Julia said...

homemade pasta has been on my to-try list for ever. i'm jealous of your little pasta machine!