Yes – I made that bucatini pasta from scratch!
Recently I went on a culinary trip to Italy. I knew before I stepped foot on the plane that the food there would be amazing, and it was. What I wasn’t prepared for was the beauty in the sheer simplicity of Italian eating. Dishes focused on great ingredients that are not complicated by additions to the plate. Fresh, seasonal produce that speaks for itself in flavour and freshness. It really reminded me a lot of why it is that I’m on this food journey to begin with.
Sure I love making and eating delicious food. But it’s about so much more than that. It’s learning about where our food comes from and what food I put in front of my family. It’s about food that doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. It’s about knowing how to pronounce everything we eat, knowing what season our food is available locally, and understanding the relationship we as Canadians have with this bountiful country of ours. It’s about sharing that knowledge with my readers.
It’s why I threw my kids in a car a few years ago and made off for the east coast for a month. Stopping at farms, fields, fromageries and fisheries along the way.
In Italy I had the opportunity to stop at an organic wheat mill and meet a family who proudly continues their family tradition in Val d’Orcia, Tuscany. The pride the family members all had in the products really struck home with me (not to mention the overflowing bowls of pasta they kept putting in front of us.) Passion & simple ingredients. Flour, eggs and water. No magic. I knew that one of my gifts for my kids from Italy would have to be some ’00’ flour to make them some fresh pasta at home.
I’ve never made pasta before so I turned to my friends at KitchenAid for some help with this. They sent me their Gourmet Pasta Press which took a lot of the pressure off. There was enough worry about making pasta for the first time for my three kids without having to be concerned about forming the pasta too! It just pops on the end of my stand mixer and forms the pasta dough into fun shapes.
Making pasta from scratch really isn’t that difficult, and if you’ve got a mixer to get the dough started then it’s strikingly simple. Easy. Simple. Delicious. Right up my alley. You don’t need a pasta press to form the pasta but it will make it incredibly easy to create complex shapes like bucatini or rigatoni that would be impossible with a simple pasta roller.
I decided to throw one of my favourite recipes for a ragu of shredded beef short ribs in the slow cooker that morning so that I could focus on just making the pasta for dinner. I got my kids involved helping me knead the dough and feed the pasta press. Everything turned out perfectly – I great homage to my visit to Italy and a great eye opener for my kids who just assumed pasta was born in plastic bags at the grocery store.
KitchenAid and I would love to give one of my Canadian readers a pasta press. A chance for you to give homemade pasta a try at home. Simply tweet out your family’s favourite shape of pasta and be sure to include @gavmartell and @kitchenaid_ca Winner will be chosen by random number generator on March 20, 2015
Contest winner: Kat Inokai. Congrats!