Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pasta with Maddy and Cat

Maddy and Catherine, Never-mean Girls
Regina: Cady, do you even know who sings this?                   
Cady: .... the Spice Girls?

Regina:  I love her. She's like a Martian!

Damian: ... and that little one, she's Gretchen Wieners, she knows everybody's business.

Janis:  That's why her hair is so big, it's full of secrets.      

Karen: There's a 30 percent chance that it's already raining!                   

                                                          ~ Mean Girls

For a good time, have your nieces over for a night of cooking and movies. My house has always been boys, boys, boys ... so the DVD shelves are stacked with Jason Bourne, Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek. There's this whole Tina Fey, Reese Witherspoon Spice World we somehow missed.

Lucky, Maddy and Catherine came by to show me some classics!  We made pasta and settled in for a great night at the girl flicks: Mean Girls and Legally Blonde.

Il Fungi Selvaggio (Shrimp and Shrooms with Sheet Pasta)

Dried pasta of your choice ..... or make your own!
Homemade Pasta:

        3 cups semolina flour
        1 tsp. salt
        5 eggs

Make a mound of flour on a smooth surface and scoop out the center to make a small well. Break the eggs into the well. Combine gently with a fork, breaking yolks and blending. Gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs, to make a medium soft dough. If it seems too sticky, add just a little flour. Knead gently until it feels smooth and soft. Roll it into a 6-8 inch log and wrap in plastic. Clean the surface and fix the pasta machine to the countertop.

Slice off a fifth of the log (you'll use many slices as the number of eggs in the dough) and keep the remaining dough wrapped. Follow the machine directions to roll the slice of dough gradually into a long noodle, kind of like a lasagna noodle. Set it aside to dry and continue with the remaining dough. You should have five long noodles when you're finished.

"maltagliati" is a pretty way to say ... badly cut
Use the spaghetti cutters if you like, to slice the noodles further. We tore ours into maltagliati, or "scrap pasta" pieces.  

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until not quite soft ... al dente, or "to the tooth." Start the sauce while the pasta cooks, but keep the timer on! When 4 minutes are up, drain the pasta, reserving a cup of water. 

Keep the noodles warm while the sauce is cooking. For me, this means placing a lid over the colander.

Fun facts about pasta:

   * "fresh" packaged at the market means it has been treated with a preservative to stay soft ... better to buy the dried

   * never refrigerate homemade pasta dough ... cold is its enemy; instead, try to roll it within a few hours

   * don't wash the pasta machine ... just brush away the dried dough with stiff bristles and wipe down the metal with a clean cloth

Shrimp and Mushroom Sauce
       1/2 to 1 onion, diced
       3 cloves of garlic, minced
       3 to 4 tsp. butter
       1 to 2 lbs of raw shrimp, tails removed
       1 lb assorted mushrooms, or to taste ... I used button, cremini, and fancy dried kinds, reconstituted
        1/4 to 1/2 cup pasta water ... you can reduce this and use more butter if you prefer
         parmesan cheese, shredded, to taste

Saute the onion and garlic in butter until tender. Add shrimp and stir until just starting to turn pink. Add mushrooms and cook very gently on low, as they begin to give off their liquid. Add pasta water and butter to make a simple sauce. Stir in the pasta... you might not need all of it. Save some for another great dish. Stir in some cheese, and pass a little to sprinkle on top.

optional, but great to include: chili flakes, cayenne pepper, chopped or dried basil, a little parsley

yummy with a salad and something chocolate later, you can always work out in the morning 

Especially really yummy while watching chick flicks with super cute nieces. 
Next time, we're cueing up some Star Wars .... they've never seen it!

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