Why is homemade pasta good for entertaining? You can make as much or as little pasta as you like. Fresh pasta freezes well. It takes very little time to cook. The sauce can be prepared ahead of time. Tomato sauce, pesto, brown butter or spiced butter (as presented here) are among a long list of alternatives that go well with pasta. Thin spaghetti noodles also work well in a light broth. The options are unlimited. Stir in the cooked pasta in a simmering sauce in a saucepan. In no time, the pasta dish is ready to be served. It can be made to order individually. Or you can serve a large group. The beauty is the short amount of time it takes to cook fresh pasta.
Add soup and salad and dessert. You have a four-course meal ready to rock and roll. This is an entertaining formula that has generated a lot of enthusiasm in my family.
Have you ever considered having a group of friends or even strangers cook together and make pasta? It could be a bonding experience when you work together as a team in the kitchen and achieve a common goal – a delicious plate of food that you are proud of feeding your friends and family.
I have made this rye pasta a few times since I acquired the Marcato Atlas pasta maker. Lately, I have been making rye bread and cookies. Then why not use the organic rye berries and flour I have on hand to make pasta. This recipe comes from Heidi Swanson‘s 101 cookbooks online. From everything I know about bread-making, a simple rule of thumb to make the pasta dough is: one whole egg (50 gram) to 100 gram of soft wheat flour (about 3/4 cup). As easy as that. The rest is kneading the dough and cranking the machine.
Do not add salt. (Salt inhibits gluten development. Add salt in the boiling water to cook the pasta.) Knead the dough until it is completely smooth and elastic. Great dough should never stick to your fingers. If the dough is too dry, add some water. If it is too soft add some flour. The true test comes when you feed the dough through the roller on the pasta machine on thickness-adjustment setting number 0, the dough should stay together as one cohesive piece. If it doesn’t, feed it through the roller as many times as you need until the dough becomes supple and compliant. Lightly dust both sides of the sheet of pasta with flour. You’ll get to the finished line every time, I can assure you of that. The most important ingredient of making pasta at home is patience and, perhaps, a sense of adventure. I really enjoy making pasta, experimenting with all kinds of healthful whole grain flours.
The spiced butter gives the rye pasta a different spin than the usual Italian touch. I lifted the recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty. The spiced butter takes on a Moroccan style when a whole host of warm spices are added to brown butter: ginger, sweet paprika, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, chili flakes and turmeric. The sauce delivers an unexpected and absolutely delicious punch to an otherwise plain pasta dish, making it company worthy. Merry Christmas to you all!