My kitchen is small enough as it is. My slow cooker takes up half the space under my sink. And I recently got a bread machine, which now takes up the other half, along with a waffle maker. Among my mix of pots and pans is a new dutch oven I got last month. Alas, I’ve resorted to using my oven as storage. This gets tricky since I actually use my oven for baking pretty often. So it’s a constant shuffle of pots from the oven onto the kitchen floor and back into the oven. A small price to pay for kitchen appliances.
But I still have a lot left on my wish list – like a stand mixture, food processor, and pasta machine. I’ve been okay without the stand mixture. An upside? My arms have gotten stronger from all the mixing I do by hand. The food processor I can do without for the time being. Well, maybe a mini food processor can fit somewhere… But the pasta machine? I love pasta! I’ve made fresh pasta by hand, by rolling the dough out and cutting individual strips with a knife. It gets to be pretty tiring after 12 ounces of individual strips. I needed a machine. Luckily they’re not that large. I’ll have to find space for it, but after this dish, it might just be permanently glued to my counter, ready for use at a moment’s notice. Fresh pasta, its chewiness and doughiness is just so delicious! I think I’ve officially done away with boxed, dried pasta.
I hate letting food go to waste; and, I actually had pesto leftover from when I used it in the Italian ciabatta sandwiches. I also had green zucchini from last week’s Fresh Direct order. What do you do with a mix of leftovers? Throw it all in with pasta! A melange of vegetables and/or meats with some kind of sauce over chewy noodles – you can’t go wrong. I especially love pesto in the springtime. The heat from the cooked pasta and vegetables warm up the pesto and triggers a release of this great vegetal, nutty aroma. Since I don’t have a food processor, I purchase pre-made pesto. Fresh Direct and Whole Foods have great freshly made options. I just try to make sure there’s not too much sodium in it.
-For the Pasta Dough-
- Mound the flour on a flat surface or in a large mixing bowl, create a well in the center and pour in the eggs.
- With a fork, beat together the eggs and start incorporating the flour, starting with the inner rim.
- As the dough starts to pull together, begin kneading the dough by hand. Don’t worry if little scraps of dough do not get incorporated.
- Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes an eggy color, soft and elastic.
- Roll the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and let rest for 10 minutes.
-To Cut the Pasta-
- Divide the dough into eight sections and work with one section at a time and keep the other pieces wrapped up.
- Lightly flatten the piece into a rectangular shape, roll with the pasta machine until you get the desired thickness.
- Then use the machine to cut the pasta into your desired shape.
-For the Assembly-
- Let water in a large pot come to a boil.
- Add in a bit of salt, then add in the pasta.
- Cook for about 4 minutes, until al dente.
- Drain the pasta but reserve some of the pasta water.
- In a pan on medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Sauté the zucchini until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add in the pesto and stir to mix.
- Transfer the pasta into the zucchini and pesto mixture and toss to coat.
- If the pasta is a bit dry, add in some of the reserved pasta water.
- Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
If I’m making the pasta ahead of time, I separate the individual noodles and allow them to hang dry on a wooden hanger rod. If you just mound all the cut pasta together and allow them to sit there for a while, they will stick to one another and are more likely to form clumps as they’re boiling. If this does happen, I quickly stir them around in the boiling water so they can get the chance to separate.
I don’t rinse pasta under water after it’s been cooked. Running water washes away starch that’s on the surface of the pasta. And the starch is what allows the sauce to bind to the pasta.