Friday, January 3, 2014

Fresh Pasta with Italian Sausage in Red Pepper Cream Sauce

You or may not remember that awhile back, I did a post about fresh pasta I made. It was the first time I had done it, and all things considered, I think it turned out pretty darn well! That being said, I didn't know what I was doing, and it was rather thick pasta considering I had to roll it out and cut it by hand. I haven't made it since then, just because life gets busy and there are so many different things to try. That all changed this week, because for my birthday, L got me a brand new pasta maker! We talked about it awhile back as something that might be kinda fun, but I wasn't sure if we'd ever do it. For some reason, though, I had a feeling that's what my gift might be, and I am super excited I was right! The pasta maker he got me is the Atlas 150, and while I've never experienced another, this one seems pretty great! I know because we used it yesterday, and it was a lot of fun! Already some lessons learned for next time, but overall, a really neat experience. And the pasta is great! This particular machine allows for lasagne, fettucine, and tagliolini noodles. I didn't even know what tagliolini was, but we looked it up and decided that was the kind we wanted to try. Because L is a wizard in the kitchen, we already had an idea in mind of a sauce to make, so the pasta paired with that was like heaven in my mouth. Actually getting ready to eat some of it in a few minutes! But before I do, I wanted to share some photos and the "recipe" with you. Also, just a tip, if you ever decide to make fresh pasta, I'd recommend giving yourself some time to do it. The whole process took us a couple hours yesterday, granted we are pretty new to it all. Just nice to not be doing it at the very moment you're hungry. Anyway, here goes nothing, and let me know if you have questions or if you give it a try!
 All the ingredients!
 All it takes for pasta is flour and eggs!
 Whisk the eggs and mix them with the flour. Then mix it all up and knead it until it looks like the above pic!
I floured it up a bit since it was getting a little sticky. Then I cut it up into smaller pieces so it'd roll through the pasta maker a little easier. Worked perfectly!
 Put it through the flat roller piece a several times until it's your desired thickness. If you don't have a pasta maker, you can just roll it out to the appropriate thickness and cut it yourself.
 Eventually it should look at least something like this!
 Here's me rolling out some of the pasta through the tagliolini attachment!
How fun is that?!
 So much pasta! We did learn after this that it would help a lot if you flour the noodles after they come out of the machine. Otherwise, they're likely to stick together. Fortunately, we had the patience to separate the clumpy pieces, but adding a little flour would've made a big difference!
 Boil those noodles!
 Cooked pasta!
 In addition to the pasta, L and I cooked up some Italian sausage to add and also created a sauce.
 Here is where L had chopped our veggies - peppers, onion, and garlic.
 Saute the onions and garlic in some olive oil.
 Then throw in the red peppers!
 Eventually you'll add in some heavy whipping cream...
 Some cheese...
 And some black pepper!
 Spoon in the sauce with the noodles until you have it nice and covered (below)!

Pasta (for 6 servings, according to the recipe book)
  • 3.75 cups flour
  • 5 eggs
Meat (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package Italian sausage links
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 stick of butter
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 5 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 bulb garlic, diced (notice I said bulb, not clove - so about half of a full garlic)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Shredded cheese (we used a combo of Parmesan and 5-cheese blend; probably 1 cup or so)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Put 3.75 cups (1 pound) of flour into a large bowl. Crack the five eggs and put them in the middle of the floor. Whisk the eggs until they're mixed into the flour completely. Knead the dough with your hands until it has a nice consistency. (I'll admit, this amount of flour and eggs seemed to be too flour-y at first, so I scooped in a little water here and there. Eventually, with a little help from L, we were able to knead it into a nice big ball of delicious dough.)
  • Let dough sit for about 30 minutes before using. (Our directions didn't tell us to do this, but I was told by others that it would help with the process, so I'll try it next time.)
  • If you have a pasta maker, follow the directions of the pasta maker to get your desired type of pasta. If not, you can roll the dough out and cut it yourself. My previous pasta post referenced above walks through that in more detail.
  • As you cut the noodles, whether by hand or in the machine, I would recommend lightly dusting them with flour to prevent them from sticking. These tagliolini noodles got pretty stuck together, so definitely a lesson learned for future!
  • The recipe we had told us to let the cut pasta sit for at least an hour to dry, but ours seemed really try right away, so we cooked it almost immediately. Not sure if anything would have been different for us regardless, and even the noodles that clumped seemed to come apart in the water.
  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of water. Fresh pasta tends to cook faster than boxed pasta, so watch and taste it closely. Our recipe said only 2-5 minutes, but we probably kept ours on for almost 10 since it was such a large amount of pasta. Was great!
  • Put the pasta back in the original pot and toss with a little olive oil to keep from sticking. Set aside.
  • If you choose to have meat as part of your meal, put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and throw the sausage in the pan on medium-high heat.
  • Cook sausage until done - about 10-12 minutes or so. Just keep an eye on it.
  • Remove the sausage from the pan and place on a plate for later.
  • Use the same pan for the sauce that you used for the meat. The scrapings from the sausage will add a really delicious flavor to the sauce!
  • Throw in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Add in your onions and garlic and saute them for a few minutes until translucent.
  • Add in your red peppers, and after a couple minutes, you can throw in the 1/4 stick of butter to prevent everything from burning to the pan. Peppers will cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until limp.
  • Once veggies are cooked to desired consistency, add in 2 cups heavy whipping cream and shredded cheese. The kind and amount of cheese you use can vary; we just used some extra stuff I had on hand.
  • After everything is mixed in, add salt and pepper to taste. We didn't originally salt it and found it could definitely use a little for extra flavor. Just be sure to taste the sauce for the flavor your prefer!
  • Once the sauce is complete, ladle or pour it into the pan with the noodles in it. Mix carefully so the noodles don't break apart. Serve with Italian sausage if you have it!
Sounds semi-complicated, but this was actually super simple. And if you use regular pasta, I'm sure it'd be quite fast. I'm strongly encouraging you to give fresh pasta a shot though! :)

NOTE: You'll see in the ingredient photo that there was spinach in the picture. Yep, we forgot it... We would have added it in at the end of the sauce making if we'd used it. Also keep in mind that you could use any sort of vegetables and/or meat you want to in this meal. Mushrooms could be a great addition, or chicken right in with the sauce, whatever floats your boat. I LOVE this meal we created, and I am already excited to try it again! I hope you give this a chance because it's totally worth it. Happy cooking!

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