Monday, September 19, 2011

Pastapalooza 2011

I am addicted to cooking. Its fun. I like the way elements come together and form something magical in your mouth. It all started when I was a little kid in Grandma's kitchen. My grandma always let me and my brother make pancakes before church on Sunday mornings. I imagine now her counters and floors must have been sticky from the syrup and she probably cleaned up after us with a smile on her face thinking of how much fun we had making shapes out of the batter. She taught me how to make pies, cookies and sticky buns. I've always failed miserably at yeast bread but she gave me an outlet for creativity and curiosity that is still with me to this day. Whenever I eat blueberry pie, I think of my first blueberry pie in a small pyrex dish with lumps of white sugar that never melted down.
So enough nostalgia, and fast forward about 15 or so years. My cousin Courtney and I are 4 years apart and we're more like sisters than cousins. She even tells her little girl I am Auntie, which I adore. We've shared a lot of fun times and we both share the "foodie passion" although she out does me in just about everything, I applaud her and her endeavors. This weekend, we decided to try out her dusty pasta rollers for the Kitchen aid mixer she got as a wedding gift about 7 years ago? I have been skimming the internet for a pasta machine for about 2 years now and I wanted to try it out before I make any decisions. It seemed like a huge undertaking and we were both a little leary. She had been wanting to make pasta too so we scheduled the weekend.
I canned 11 pints of pasta sauce and she stocked up on flour by buying a 25 lb bag! We stopped at her local gourmet food market for italian sausage, $3.50 can of tomatoes, semolina flour and other various goodies for our big day. The baby was up all night so Saturday morning got off to a bumpy start but once we get busy, there's no stopping us.....seemingly a family trait! I started with the basic pasta dough out of Molto Italiano, Mario Batali's cookbook and rolled out some lasagna noodles. It was so easy! Then I made the butternut squash ravioli. Then I made mushroom ravioli out of Williams Sonoma's Pasta cookbook. While I was busy doing that, Courtney made homeade ricotta cheese from Smitten Kitchen blog and made bolognese sauce in the crockpot. We then cut our remaining dough into fettucini noodles and Courtney assembled the lasagna.
Courtney's mom and my lovely Aunt Kathy came over. Our dear friend Lisa and even Grandma came out to enjoy! We sipped wine, noshed on garlic bread and dove headfirst into one of the best lasagnas I've ever had! But that wasn't all, Courtney made a chocolate ravioli with cocoa powder and then she stuffed it with raspberry marscapone cheese and topped it with her swiss merange and a side of vanilla bean gelato. Raspberries were the final garnish. Why didn't we think to put a mint sprig on it? Even so, it was very tasty after she crisped it in a frying pan with butter. With our stomachs bulging, we called it a night.
Sunday, we were back at it. Courtney made fresh ricotta gnocchi, while I went to work on the ravioli. I boiled the mushroom ravioli and whipped up the Williams sonoma's alfredo sauce. So rich and buttery that it melted on your tongue. Within seconds we had devoured it! Courtney looked into my eyes to see what I would say, which was "needs more salt", but she disagreed. She said it was really good, which coming from her, its a comment I will treasure.
Next, I made the butternut squash ravioli. I boiled it then tossed it in a hot pan with butter and sage leaves, topped with parmiggiano reggiano....the epitome of a sunny fall day.
We divided the spoils of our hard work and I packed up my mixer and cuisinart and said goodbye. I just can't wait for our next project, and I promise I will clean up my mess as I go next time and not take up all your counterspace! Other than that, we make an excellent team. I agree, I wish I lived closer. I think we will keep saying that for the rest of our lives!

1 comment:

  1. AWWW!! Im so glad you value my opinion so much ;) It's so true- we are more like sisters than cousins. We bicker like crazy and its something I really love and makes me smile every time I think of you...bc I know we are just teasing. Can't WAIT to see what project we tackle next!! xoxo