What is it that cooks like the most, besides a huge gourmet kitchen? The answer is kitchen gadgets. One of my favorites, but not often used gadgets is a hand crank pasta maker. It came with a set of instructions on care and a few simple recipes for fresh pasta. Traditional pasta is made with semolina flour and eggs. That’s it. I also think that some of the best pasta dishes utilize fresh ingredients and aren’t extremely complicated like a bit of basil pesto on fresh pasta.

iCookIf you don’t have a pasta machine, go buy one. Just kidding, but you can find fresh pasta at some groceries and at certain Italian restaurants. I’ve made pasta with all purpose flour and got some reasonable results, but I recently found some semolina flour at a specialty grocery and made my first batch of traditional pasta with excellent results.

In a past iCook entitled A Mother of a Sauce, we prepared homemade Marinara which is a basis for several more complex pasta sauces like Bolognese, Vodka or Red Clam Sauce. I personally love Vodka sauce with Lamb meat balls and am sharing all these with you today. As a shortcut, you can use a good jarred marinara sauce to prepare Vodka sauce. 

If you think you don’t have time to prepare this meal from scratch, I must disagree. I prepared this meal including the pasta from scratch in less than an hour. Live, Laugh, Love and Eat Well.

Pasta

iCook

Serves 6

  • 500 grams Semolina flour
  • 4 eggs

Weight out the flour into a bowl and create a hollow in the middle. Crack the eggs in the hollow and mix well with a fork until the dough comes away from the bowl clean. If the dough seems a bit too dry, add a little water and mix. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead it until homogeneous. NOTE: when the dough is at the correct consistency, it will not stick to your fingers.

Cut the dough into 1 cm slices a few at a time and process in the pasta maker. I used a fettucine cutter but can easily use dough for ravioli, spaghetti or tagliatelle.

iCook

Vodka Sauce

  • 1-quart Marinara sauce (fresh or good quality canned)
  • 1 cup Vodka
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • Pasta for 6 (typically I use Penne)

Simmer the tomato sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir the cream into the tomato and vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to the pan with the sauce, and toss to coat.

iCookLamb Meatballs

  • 2 LB Ground Lamb
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 cup Japanese Breadcrumbs (Panko)
  • 1 TBSP garlic powder (not salt)
  • 1 TBSP dried Basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl by hands until well blended. Form lamb mixture into balls about 3 to 4 ounces each. Place in a greased baking dish, cover with foil and place in oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and check to make sure they have cooked completely through. Remove the foil and place back into oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes to let some of the juices absorb back in to the meatballs. Drain remaining grease and serve with your favorite pasta and sauce.


You can download the recipes of the week HERE!