Sunday, May 5, 2013

Homemade Pasta With Roasted Vegetables

Hey y'all, long time no blog.  I realize it's been 3 months since I've last blogged and that's pretty lame of me.  I started a new job so I was busy with that.  I also recently donated bone marrow to a 41 year old man with cancer (AML).  If you're interested in my experience donating bone marrow check out the blog I wrote chronicling the process here.

Anyway, I decided I needed to come back with a bang and this is the perfect recipe for that.  I, not so humbly, declared this the Best Thing I've Ever Made (and if I was every asked to be on that show on the Food Network I would use this recipe no matter what the category.  I mean, this could be a dessert, right?!).  Anyway, don't be intimated to make your own pasta.  I don't have a pasta roller or a pasta cutter and was able to get the pasta thin enough cut it in relatively even strips.  Just try it once, and you will be a convert for life.  I mean I don't think I'll be making homemade pasta on a Tuesday night after work, but if I want pasta on a weekend I will definitely be making my own.

Homemade Pasta With Roasted Vegetables

What you need:
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
2 T milk

Shrimp (I used about 12 medium-large)
1 can artichoke hearts
1 medium zucchini
Cherry tomatoes (about 1 cup)
2 T chopped sundried tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
2 tsp red pepper flakes
Juice of 3 lemons
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup half and half (I used fat free)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (I used fat free)
1/3 cup reserved pasta water
Basil chiffonade

What you do:

Put the flour on a clean work surface and mix in the salt.  Mix the eggs, olive oil and milk in a separate bowl.  Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the egg mixture into the well.  Make sure that the well is deep enough so that egg mixture doesn't try to escape (not like that happened to me or anything).  Anyway, use your hands to mix the flour into the egg mixture until it forms a craggly dough.  Then, you're just going to knead away.  You need to knead the dough until it's no longer sticky and is a nice soft and smooth dough.  By kneading it you're activating all the gluten, and if you don't knead it enough the pasta is going to not be yummy and delicious.  I kneaded my dough for 5-7 minutes.  Once the dough was soft and smooth I formed it into a ball and covered it with plastic wrap, then covered that with a towel and let it sit for an hour.  

Once you've let the dough sit for at least an hour, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll that sucker as thin as you can get it.  Seriously, take it to where you think it's thin enough and then roll it out some more.  It should be about 1/8th inch thick when you're done with it.  I was the most scared about this part, because I read that it was practically impossible to roll the dough thin enough.  I will tell you, it was nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be.  So, once you've rolled the dough out lightly sprinkle flour all over the top of the dough and gently fold the dough in half, and then lightly flour the top and fold it in half again (basically we're trying to make it easier to cut the pasta into strips, if you only need to fold it in half once that's fine).  Let the dough sit for about 5 minutes, then go ahead and cut it into thin strips.  Mine ended up being about the size of fettucini (about 1/2 inch).  Once you cut the pasta into strips, then you need to unfold the strips and lay them out side by side.  Cook them in salted boiling water for 5-6 minutes.    

Drain the artichokes, quarter them and put them on a cookie sheet along with the cherry tomatoes and zucchini cut into half circles.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven at 425* until the vegetables are browned, about 30 minutes.  Take out of oven and set aside.

Saute shrimp and garlic in olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  When the shrimp is done, remove from pan and set aside.  Add the white wine to the garlic and reduce by one half.  I always use whatever wine I feel like drinking that night, so I used Barefoot's new Sweet White.  It was delicious, but any wine you want to use will be perfect.  On a side note, if you mix the Sweet White wine with some raspberry lemonade it is a delicious summer spritzer.  You're welcome.  Anyway, once the wine has reduced add in the half and half and red pepper flakes and the juice of 2 of the lemons.  Let everything mix together, get warmed up and reduce slightly.  Add the shrimp and roasted vegetables back to the pan and then add the cooked noodles to the pan as well.  Add the ricotta cheese along with the reserved pasta water and stir to combine everything.  Right before you serve add the basil, sundried tomatoes, and the juice of the 1 remaining lemon.

Enjoy with a nice glass of wine and be impressed with yourself.  You just made homemade pasta.  You are awesome!

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