Monday, June 20, 2011

Tagliatelle with sausages and porcini mushrooms

I recently started making my own pasta. When my mum came over she brought a pasta machine with her (oh and some cheeeeese), and I vowed I wouldn't buy the dried pasta from the store anymore. The main reason is to avoid all that packaging (plastic AND cardboard, woooot!), but the fact is, fresh pasta is so much nicer than dried pasta, it hasn't been that hard to stick to my vow. Ok, it does take a bit longer because you have to make the pasta dough, then roll it through the machine, but it only takes 3-4 minutes to cook. I'm getting better and faster at it, and within half an hour I can have enough pasta for 4 very hungry people ready to eat. I usually make enough dough for 2 meals, use the first half of it fresh then freeze the other half. All it has meant is that we eat less pasta (which is not a bad thing in itself).
A few nights ago I innovated and used sausages and dried porcini mushrooms for the sauce. It was beautiful, if dare say myself. But let me share this divine and easy recipe with you.

What you'll need:

- For the pasta (for 4 hungry people):
3 cups of flour (I like to mix half white and half wholemeal flour) - 4 eggs

Put flour in a bowl, make a well in the center and break your eggs in it. Stir with a fork until it forms a dough, then keep kneading with your hands until the dough can be shaped into a ball. It should be firm, but not crumbly or sticky. If it is too dry and crumbles, add water, tiny bits at a time, until the dough comes together. If it is too sticky, add a bit of flour until you get the right consistency. Once ready, you can refrigerate the dough until you want to make your pasta.
Roll the dough into a big sausage, cut in even slices. Take the first slice, flatten it a bit and roll into the rollers of your pasta machine, set on the biggest setting (mine is 7). Fold in three, roll again lengthwise and repeat once more. Then go down two settings, roll again, then down two more, roll, until you get to the desired thickness. For tagliatelle, I stop at 2, for spaghetti 3. You should now have one long thin strip of pasta dough (and you can stop here if you want to make lasagna or ravioli!). Flour both sides, then roll into the pasta cutter of your choice (we prefer tagliatelle). Put it aside and repeat with another slice.

- For the sauce:
about 6 good quality sausages (our local deli makes lamb/rosemary/garlic ones that are very nice and tasty) - a handful dried porcini mushrooms - one bay leaf - knob of butter - pinch of flour - your choice of greens (I used silverbeet, and some fresh nasturtiums sprinkled on top)

Soak mushrooms in about a cup to a cup and a half boiling water.
Cook the sausages in a heavy base pan. Once cooked, take them out, leaving the fat in the pan, and chop into bite size pieces. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the water.
With the pan still on the element (but not too hot) add the knob of butter to the pan, then once it's melted add the flour. When the flour/butter mix starts getting dough-y, add the porcini water, greens and bay leaf and mix until the sauce thickens a bit. Syrup kind of consistency. Add the mushrooms and sausages, mix with your pasta, and serve hot.

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