leynos: (Cooking Mama)
[personal profile] leynos
Ruth had some guests over yesterday whom we owed dinner, so I got to try out some of my cooking experiments on them (mwahahah). Since one of the guests is vegetarian, we figured it would be easier just to cook one dish instead of two. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to attempt making pasta from scratch. So of course, I turned to Google which yielded this suggestion. Sounds easy enough I thought. Of course, I would also need some vegetarian pasta dough, and a sauce of some kind to go with it. I suggested carrot and orange soup as a starter, which everyone liked the sound of.

The shitake mushrooms came from Thai@Haymarket, but pretty much any Chinese/south east Asian supermarket will have them. The rest of the vegetables came from Tattie Shaws, undoubtedly the best green grocers in Edinburgh. A helpful gentleman had recommended Valvona & Crolla's double zero pasta flour but, sadly, they were out, so I had to make do with Allinsons Very Strong bread flour. Valvona & Crolla were also a bit limited in their selection of vegetarian cheese (no romano), so I went with a light Scottish dairy cheese for the sauce instead.

For making ravioli, I picked up a ravioli press from Lakeland.

I try to avoid kitchen gadgets to begin with, as I like to learn how things are done by hand first, but in this instance, I was grateful for the speed afforded by an electric whisk for kneading the dough, as it took me a few goes to get the ravioli out of the press correctly. By the third try, the press was turning out perfect little pasta parcels. It seems the answer is to cover the thing in flour. Actually, it can't be stressed strongly enough how essential a flour duster is for this task.

As a quantity guide, the linked pasta dough recipe makes enough for one ravioli tray and one tray does two people.

This was also my first experience of using a food processor—Ruth had a Braun stick blender in her cupboard that had seemingly gone unused, but worked perfectly. I'm now sold on the value of these things, so I will look into obtaining one for myself.

I served the pasta with steamed asparagus (again, mad propz to Tattie Shaws). Everyone was pleased with the meal, a huge relief as my estimate of preparation time was way off. One of Ruth's guests had brought her signature lemon drizzle cake, which I'd heard a lot about and definitely didn't disappoint.

Now that I know I can make pasta, it feels that another one of life's little mysteries has fallen by the wayside. The whole experience was definitely a little exhausting though. Next time, I think I will split the preparation over two days if possible.
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