Johnny Rock, Johnny Roll, Johnny Roll and Roll.

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This is definitely one of the colder days here in New England. A day to crank that oven on and also to make pasta from scratch…….2 eggs, 6 oz bread flour, pinch of salt. With this you can make pasta. I splurged by adding some chopped parsley and thyme.

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Beat those eggs up and slowly incorporate everything. At home, I like to use a fork to do this.

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The hard part is kneading………keep at it. You might be surprised at how how much flour two eggs can absorb. Kneading is the key and will ultimately determine the quality of your pasta dough. It does’nt matter how local your eggs are or how organic your flour is if you do not treat them appropriately. So, yeah, keep kneading.

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Now, there are herbed pasta sheets to play with. You can see the mottled effect from the chopped up parsley leaves.

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Ravioli, it is, with mushroom and potato filling.

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Little hand made mushroom stuffed ravioli.

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Crimping the edges seals the filling inside. These ravioli are nice and plump.

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I sauced the ravioli with a quick tomato sauce, added more herbs, extra virgin olive oil and Parmigiana and called it macaroni. Good enough on this frigid day. Thanks for looking at my blog.

This is Parmigiana-Reggiano.

This is Parmigiana-Reggiano.

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Winter being winter.

Kamut Pasta…….This Is How We Roll

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Finally………I have only ever used store bought Kamut pasta. I wanted to try my hand making it at home. I have never used the whole grain before. How hard can this be? Well, for one I am not going to use any eggs. Egg pasta is richer and harder to digest than a pasta made from flour and water. In that context also, egg pasta can seem a little heavier. Need to know more about Kamut, check out my blogroll. Thanks to the good people at Kamut International who steered me towards Bob’s Red Mill. If you have an interest in grains, I’d suggest them.

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Here are the raw materials……….ground up Kamut, water and salt. There is no need to add anything else, especially olive oil. I have tried making it with olive oil. It did not work for me.

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There were two mistakes I made the first time around. I already mentioned olive oil. The second mistake I made was not to grind the grain fine enough. As a result, the small pieces of grain kernel worked like glass shards and cut into any elasticity action during the stretching or rolling out procedure. The simple corrective action was to sieve everything and re-mill what was left. Here, I was reminded of “00” pasta flour from Italy. “00” simply means that it has been re-milled. So, that’s what I did and obtained a finer measure of coarseness. I’m using the whole grain, don’t forget. Right now, the only way for me to get the Kamut flour finer is to obtain  a finer meshed strainer or sieve.

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So far, so good……..the pasta is not being ripped to bits. I can live with the rough edges of the pasta sheet. This was a very hard grain to deal with. If you have not made pasta before, I’d suggest not trying this just yet.If you are somewhat proficient at pasta making, press ahead and let me know how you made out. The observant eye will notice there is no clamp with my pasta machine. It makes the job a little harder to do.

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I weighed out 4 ounces of sieved or strained home milled Kamut and mixed it with 2 ounces of water, then kneaded it a while before introducing the pasta dough to the machine. I know there are different ways to roll out pasta. I used the hand-crank machine, an Imperia from Torino. Forza, Juve.

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Times like this I wish I had audio here……..pasta making music. I also decided to use the attachament that came with the pasta machine to make my life a little easier. There are other ways to cut pasta. I’m just happy I got this far with the project.

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Pasta and the sauce to go along with it……….one of life’s little or big mysteries. I’m opting for garlic and porcini mushrooms to build a sauce on.A splash of white wine for acidity and the leftover water from rehydrating the porcini mushrooms as a stock base. This starving peasant has no herbs. Sage might be nice. But then, I remembered….something more appropriate.

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What a delicious winter side-dish that can pair with just about anything. I roasted root vegetables like carrots, parsnips and rutabaga and glazed them with local raw honey. Then I added a Sicilian twist with white wine soaked golden raisins and salted capers.

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I added the green radicchio to brighten the pan and  give bitterness to offset the earthiness of the porcini and also as a measure against the sweetness of the side-dish of roots. I used toasted chopped hazelnuts in addition because I can imagine wild boar going around the forest feeding on these things. Besides, the word “porcini” translates as little pigs. I added the hazelnuts for texture and crunch. Two things…..this dish could have used a little Speck or Pancetta added, entirely optional. There is that pig again. And secondly, there is no tomato sauce or cream. Extra virgin olive oil. Eat like a gangster. thanks for reading. Hello, Ireland and Hello, Japan.