Monday, April 24, 2017

edible trail and error

[heavenly layers]

it only seemed natural that my initial luck in pasta making would eventually be tested. quite often i get asked if i ever have a recipe that failed, or didn't go smoothly. and as much as i quickly confess, most assume i'm fibbing. so, i thought it'd be fun to post on a couple of our recent endeavors that didn't go according to plan. thankfully, both blunders did end up tasting phenomenally, but not without considerable effort. 

a couple of weekends back, T had been craving my braised beef stroganoff served over pappardelle noodles. so, i thought, why not make the noodles to go with it? how difficult could it be? overall, the recipe was very straightforward and easy to work through. however, i didn't have the faintest idea that a hot kitchen (the stroganoff has to slow cook in the oven for 3 hours) would cause problems in making pasta sheets. i'd heard about heat and humidity being a factor, but just assumed i wouldn't have to worry about it...silly, i know. 

several of our sheets started sticking to everything they touched before they could be cut, and we had to remake sheets a few times. this all occurring as i needed to pull the beef from the oven, and start on sauteing the veggies for the sauce. not to mention i was sweating something serious - pasta making it quite the workout. but, i did learn the importance of flouring my noodles as well as letting them rest prior to cooking. 

[beautiful noodles]

[savory and rich]

[just gorgeous, right?]

the finished product? velvety, thin noodles that paired beautifully with my stroganoff. several lessons learned, and a hopeful me that my next noodle 'venture would be that much improved.

then, last friday, we thought it would be fun to try out our skills on a few friends. a little homemade ravioli action with T's infamous meat sauce. sounded simple enough, right? remember my note earlier about how heat and humidity can effect pasta making? yeah...i completely forgot all about the humid part. that is, until it came to rolling our sheets out to make ravioli. it had been raining for the past couple of days with a huge storm coming through that day. sadly, our sheets stuck to everything including the depression trays to where we couldn't get the raviolis out! 

i'd be lying if i said i didn't panic several times as difficult as the pasta was being. it almost seemed comical that this was happening while our friends were over for dinner, after we'd talked about how we'd nailed it at pasta making. ...i guess the universe thought it was a good test in humility. we did finally get our ravioli semi-worked out and only lost 12 in the end. but, we did learn another boatload of lessons. one, pay attention to the weather; two, don't roll the sheets too thin on the bottom layer; three, stick with a dough recipe that you like and 'clicks'; and four, flour, flour, flour!

[cheese filling]

[the lucky 42 that made it-ish]

[T working away on his sauce]

the finished product? deliciously delicate parcels of cheese and pasta working in perfect harmony with T's sauce. our sweetly patient friends loved it, and honestly helped keep me pushing through when i was convinced it was never going to come together. and then, like some kind of magic, it did! 

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