Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homemade Pasta with Shrimp, Slow Roasted Tomatoes, and Truffle Oil

I mostly eat whole wheat pasta these days, but when I'm in the mood for some traditional pasta, nothing beats making it yourself. I've talked to a lot of people who are afraid of the process (or, in fact, dread it), so I figured I'd include some photos that might help people visualize just how simple a process making pasta really is.

1. You start with 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour and 4 eggs (at room temperature). Pour your flour out onto a flat, very clean surface like a countertop, and create a well in the middle of the flour. This is where you'll pour the eggs in. See Photo 1 below.

Photo 1.

2. Work the flour and eggs together by hand. At first you might think the mixture will never actually come together, but have a little patience and enjoy using your hands and getting dirty. Knead the dough once it does come together by folding it in half and pressing down hard. Ten minutes of kneading is usually the magic number for me. Once the dough is nice and kneaded, sprinkle a little flour on it and put a bowl over the dough. Let rest for at least 30 minutes. See Photo 2 for what the dough will look like once it has rested and risen.

Photo 2.

3. Cut the dough into 4 equal parts. See Photo 3.

Photo 3.

4. Take each dough section, one by one, and roll through pasta machine on each setting (1-6). You can also roll out the dough by hand using a rolling pin. Once rolled out, run pasta sheets through pasta cutter. See Photo 4 below.

Photo 4.

5. Arrange pasta on a pasta drying rack or on a clean counter surface. Let dry out for about an hour (or two!). See Photo 5.

Photo 5.

Now that you have wonderful fresh pasta, here's a great way to use it!

Pasta with Shrimp, Slow Roasted Tomatoes, and Truffle Oil

1 1/2 c. cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb. fresh pasta
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. truffle oil
Chopped, fresh Italian parsley
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine halved tomatoes, salt, pepper, and 1 tsp. olive oil. Toss to coat and pour onto a baking sheet. Bake in oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and shrimp to pan. Cook shrimp 2 minutes a side, or until pink (This is also the point at which I start boiling the pasta for 2-3 minutes). Add slow roasted tomatoes to the skillet and toss mixture. Drizzle truffle oil over shrimp mixture and toss to coat. Remove from heat and add cooked pasta to the skillet. Serve with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.

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