Making Homemade Pasta

I had a wonderful experience yesterday, making homemade pasta with friends. We made "spaghetti", "ravioli", "rotini", and "ziti" with a homemade ricotta and spinach sauce with...
red pepper olive oil. Delicious! Such a fun way to celebrate the holiday week with my husband and close friends. I like to make pasta with my husband, honoring a tradition that celebrates his days with his Nonna Maria, making homemade pasta. There are several different types of pasta and a variety of ways to make it. We started with a very traditional pasta using flour, water, oil and a pinch of salt. In a couple pasta batches, we added "Mediterranean seasoning" and other spices with flavored olive oil to the dough. You can also add an egg to the dough for a different flavor and texture. Next time we are going to purchase Italian flours (semolina, 00, etc) for a finer pasta texture and flavor. We will also substitute the water with vegetable juices to yield a vibrantly colored pasta (ie. use beet juice, carrot juice, tomato juice, etc). For the pasta sauce we used ricotta cheese, cream cheese, crème fraiche, fresh spinach, pine nuts, salt, pepper and red pepper olive oil. My friend, Steve, made a homemade red sauce with fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, garlic and some canned tomatoes. We plated a few sample dishes with the sauces side by side on the pasta. The sauces merged a bit on the plate and filled each bite with explosive flavor. We shaved fresh asiago cheese on top. Making homemade pasta is easy and FUN. I encourage you to have a pasta party of your own. If you don't have a pasta maker, look for a used one at garage sales or online. I find that a lot of people get pasta makers as gifts but seldom use them, so they end up selling them or giving them away. Remember to "Cook Out Loud" in the kitchen... and Savor every bite. Cheers ~ Danielle (Cook Out Loud)

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