When I was a little girl I LOVED food! It was literally something I always thought about. Today, as a 28-year-old woman, it's still something I think about a lot! I just LOVE IT. I love making my grocery list every week, heading to the market to pick out the food, creating and cooking the meal, and of course eating the meal with my family.
Unfortunately, Sunday dinners were NOT a tradition in my family when I was growing up. I remember wishing I had a BIG ITALIAN family that would get together and have a delicious Sunday meal. I was lucky to grow up with some Italian friends who would invite me over for ravioli or sauce and meatballs. To me ... this was the best thing in the world!
God blessed me with an Italian husband who also loves to eat and enjoy Sunday dinners as a family. You see, I am French Canadian and Norwegian - not exactly the combo you were thinking, right? I know, I know. Now you're probably not going to trust my recipes ... but let me tell you something ... I can make a mean spaghetti-and-meatball dinner.
Growing up I thought that pasta only came in a box from the grocery store. It wasn't until I met my husband that I learned (from his wonderful mother and grandmothers) that you could make your own pasta! I couldn't believe it! I had missed out on this wonderful experience for 17 years of my life.
I registered for a pasta machine (William Sonoma sells great ones) for my wedding shower and my grandmother bought me this beautiful piece of art. I think it was in the first month of marriage that I gave it a try and, boy, was my husband proud (I was too, I have to admit!). He'd married a non-Italian who had mastered the art of making pasta - phew!
Plus, I even made a delicious sauce and mini meatballs to go with it. It was at that moment that I realized cooking was a passion. As I stood before the pasta machine with flour all over my apron and face, I decided that I was going to be a really good cook for my family. It gave me such joy to crank out the thin pasta sheets and know that my family would enjoy the meal as much as I enjoyed making it for them.
I share with you a recipe for Homemade Tagliatelle, Sauce, and Mini Meatballs. (If you don't have a pasta maker head to Venda Ravioli on Federal Hill for some homemade or even better, buy yourself one! Be sure to see the pictures I've attached as they provide good visuals.
Most importantly, be sure you gather your family to the table and enjoy this delicious meal together. This is a great recipe for getting your family involved. Making homemade pasta is so much fun, and it's really easy! Kids will love to help and adults will too. Just wait until you taste it! It's SOOOO good! Everyone will think you're something special after they take their first bite. This is perfect if you're having company over that you want to impress, or even if it's just your spouse and toddlers (it's so cute to see the red sauce all over their faces - the toddlers that is!). Be sure to get some crusty bread, with little dishes of extra virgin olive oil, a good bottle of wine (if you're old enough) and enjoy the BEST homemade Italian meal!
Check back next week for a sweet treat!
2 1/2 cups flour
4 or 5 large eggs (see below to see if you use 4 or 5)
There are 2 ways to do this:
Traditional way (I prefer this)-
1) Put flour onto a table and shape into a mound. Make a well in the center and add the 4 eggs.
2) Beat the eggs in the center gently and after they are beaten, gradually add the flour into the center of the well. Use your fingers/fork to combine the eggs and flour and form a ball of dough and knead for 5 minutes.
3) Dust the ball with flour and wrap with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 30 min.
See NOW below...
Easy way (it's okay to do this too if you don't have a lot of time):
1) Put the 5 eggs into food processor and process until mixed.
2) Add flour to eggs and process until a ball of dough forms.
3) Knead the dough for 5 minutes with your hands. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
4) Divide the dough into 6 pieces (I do triangles). On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough (one piece at a time - try to make it an oval).
5) Put a piece of dough through the widest setting on the pasta machine. Repeat this 3 times. Change the setting to the second widest and repeat feeding it through 2 times. Repeat the pattern until you've reached the thinnest setting (doing it 2 times for each setting except the last setting, only do it one time through last setting). BE sure to flour if needed throughout the process. Lay the pasta sheet on a floured kitchen towel and repeat with 5 other pieces.
6) After each piece sits for 10 minutes, set the machine to tagliatelle. Feed the sheets through and get excited! Put the pieces down very gently on the floured kitchen towels (or floured baking pans). *you don't have to make tagliatelle ... choose your favorite pasta.
7) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and be sure to put the pasta in FAST My mother-in-law taught me this; she always makes sure to have people standing in line with pasta ready to go into the pot. That way it cooks at the same time. You'll cook it for 3-5 minutes - be sure to check it often.
*sometimes I double the recipe below if I want a little extra for dipping bread or if I want to freeze some/use it for another recipe that week
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, dumped into a bowl and crushed with hands
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can sauce
extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1) Put about 6 TBS of extra virgin olive oil into a saucepot and add garlic. Cook until garlic just starts to brown a little (DO NOT BURN!).
2) Add 3 cans above, a crank or dash or two of salt, and a dash of garlic powder).
3) Cook on medium for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently (lower heat if too bubbly).
4) Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hrs.
*If you'd like, add fresh chopped basil
Nothing compares to my mother-in-law's meatballs, but here is an easy meatball recipe that is good for a mini meatball
Makes about 60 1-inch meatballs
1 lb ground beef chuck
1 small onion, grated
3/4 cup breadcrumbs (preferably day old 'italian bread' breadcrumbs...if not, any kind will do)
3/4 cup grated parm
4 Tbsp grated romano
3 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp italian parsely, finely chopped
1 tsp salt (kosher is best)
3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 large egg, beaten
1) Break the beef apart with your hands in a bowl. Add all the ingredients and combine gently. DO NOT OVERDO IT!
2) Use your hands to make 1-inch meatballs (about 60).
3) Heat a non stick skillet (large) over medium heat. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and cook meatballs (working in batches ... don't overcrowd) until lightly browned, usually about 10 minutes. Be sure to turn them as you work. Add more oil if necessary. When meatballs are cooked put them on a platter with paper towel.