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Looking for a fun dinner party idea? Make pasta from scratch! And we’re not talking about before everyone arrives – get everyone in on it!
We did this a few weekends ago (video below) when Thomas and I hung out with two of our best friends (and fellow cooks/food-lovers), Rob and Kathleen. These nights are especially treasured now that we now live in different cities. When we get together, we love cooking together, playing murder mystery games, drinking wine, and howling around a dinner or porch table, catching up. This visit, we decided we’d make pasta with their new Marcato’s classic Atlas 150 pasta machine. (Well, it was more Rob and Thomas cooking with Kathleen and Meaghan popping in the kitchen for wine refills and bread and Buffy butter bites, but we’re still calling this a communal operation. Having a snacking tray/cheese and charcuterie board is an important part of the evening as the slacking guests like Kathleen and myself wait for the pasta to be made).
We decided on two pastas:
- cheese ravioli with Buffy’s Slayer Helper garlic butter sauce and mushroom topper, and
- pappardelle with red sauce, one with Italian sausage and another with vegetarian Italian “sausage” crumbles
Here’s the recipes so you can have a fun pasta night with your loved ones too…
Step 1: Making the Red Pasta Sauce Base (It Tastes Better the Longer it Simmers, So We Did this First)
Step 2: Making the Pasta Dough from Scratch
We like this pasta dough recipe because the extra two egg yolks make pasta very easy to work with on the machine.
- 230 grams 00 Flour or all purpose flour
- 200 grams semolina flour
- 4 whole eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 big pinch of salt
1. Mix the semolina, flour and salt together.
2. Pour flour mixture onto a clean counter and make a well (like a doughnut hole) in the center of the flour.
3. Place the eggs and yolks inside the well.
4. Using your fingers, stir/scramble the eggs into the flour edges, occasionally adding flour from the outer edges into the center, slowly mixing it all together until it starts to form a dough.
5. Knead the dough until there are no dry pockets. Form it into a rectangle shape and wrap in plastic wrap. Let rest for 30 minutes.
6. Unwrap and cut the dough into equal sized rectangles, probably about 6 or so.
7. Using a rolling pin, roll out the first piece to be about 1/2 to 1-inch thick. Keep it in a rectangle shape.
8. Feed it to through the pasta machine to roll it out further, stepping down the thickness settings on the machine as you go. Typically we like pasta to eventually reach the “7” thickness level on the machine.
Next: Cutting pasta…We’re making two kinds of pasta (ravioli cutting instructions under the next step). For our Pappardelle, we used a pasta machine add-on (which cuts a thick strip with frilled edges) but you can cut your pasta into any shape or many different shapes for fun. Most pasta makers come with at least 1 cutting tool for fettuccini/linguine. If you don’t have a pasta cutter/machine, rollout in sheets and use a sharp knife to manually cut it.
Step 3: Making Ravioli Pasta (and Cheese Filling)
The first pasta dish we made was ravioli. For this you need pasta sheets (2 per side) and filling (we went with cheese and Italian herbs).
For the cheese filling, mix together:
- 1 egg
- 2 cups of ricotta
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 Tablespoons of That’s Amore Italian Herb Mix
We used a ravioli mold to easily form the ravioli, but you can do this without tools, it’s just trickier/time intensive, so we like using a mold. To use a mold, place a pasta sheet on the mold, add filling into each indentation, add the second pasta sheet on top, and use a rolling pin to seal the pasta sheets together. When rolled out and easy to separate, remove the ravioli pasta from the mold.
Drop ravioli in boiling pot of water (seasoned with a little salt) and cook for 1.5-3 minutes.
Step 4: Making the Mushroom & Garlic Sauce for the Ravioli
Step 5: Making Italian Sausage for Red Sauce
While we most of this meal was vegetarian, we knew there had to be some Italian sausage somewhere in the meal. This was done simply.
We sautéed some nice locally produced Italian sausage in a pan with olive oil over medium low heat until cooked through (20-30 minutes). We cut the sausage links into bite-size pieces, and tossed them into some of the red pasta sauce recipe from above into a pan. We cooked over medium heat for 5-10 minutes then served it over our Pappardelle pasta with fresh-grated Romano cheese.
Step 6: Making Vegetarian Italian “Sausage” Crumble Sauce
For the vegetarian Italian sausage sauce, we used this base red sauce and added TVP crumbles, flavored with our popular organic La Dulce Vita Seasoning (aka “Everything but the Italian Sausage Seasoning). Get the recipe here.
End result? A lovely night and super tasty meal with close friends, and leftovers to boot!
If you do a pasta night, we’d love to hear your pasta recipes and/or see your creations!
Happy pasta’ing, friends