June 14, 2010

Cream of Broccoli Sauce (soup?) over Homemade Pasta

Ah...homemade pasta. Pasta generally is a fantastic vehicle for all the weird stuff we end up getting in our CSA box and you get to create all sorts of fun sauces and flavors. Lately I've taken up making fresh pasta on the spot and I have to say that I don't know why I didn't start sooner. Pasta is one of the easiest and least fussy doughs you could make and if you have a pasta roller on hand the whole process is a snap.

Every Day Pasta:

1 cup all purpose flour
generous pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 Tbs tasty olive oil

Start with the whole "sift the flour with the salt and make a well in the center" thing. Crack the eggs into that well and pour the olive oil in with the eggs. Using a fork (or your fingers if you feel like being dirty) whisk up JUST the eggs and the oil and then slowly (ever so slowly) start to incorporate flour into the mix from the bottom and sides of the well. Do not rush. If you rush then you'll end up with a big sticky mess, which is fine, you can work through it, but you shouldn't have to.

Eventually everything should come together and you should have (probably) a slightly sticky dough. You'll be needing to knead the dough at this point so if you need more flour now is the time to add a bit (I'm sorry, lots of homonyms there). It's about 5-10 minutes of working the dough to get it to the right point.

And then roll away. I like to start it out with a rolling pin so it kinda fits into the largest setting at the start. Then I work my way down through the settings until I hit the smallest on the machine. I hear tell that if you were lazy at the kneading stage, rolling the dough finishes the process for you.

Now do whatever the hell you want with the dough. Make big noodles, small noodles, square noodles, round noodles. Panda shaped noodles. It's up to you.

And the sauce (Cream of Broccoli): For 1 Cup Liquid

1 head of Broccoli

1 Tbs Butter, Olive Oil, or a mix of the two
1/2 large Onion
1 Garlic clove
1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flake (or more, who am I to say)
1 tsp. Salt
1 Tbs. Flour
1 Cup Milk or Stock or a mix (near boiling)
Parmesan and Black Pepper for finishing

Start the onion in the butter and let saute on low for a little bit. In the mean time blanch the broccoli in boiling water for just about 5 minutes or until slightly tender (I used the pasta water in this case).

Add the garlic, salt, and red pepper flake to the onion and saute for a minute more before adding the flour to this mix. Just let it cook for a minute or two to let the raw flour taste work itself out. This isn't a standard roux as there are vegetables in the way so cooking it too long will burn the flour.

Add about 1/3 cup of the heated liquid to the onion/flour mix while whisking vigorously. Make sure you work the liquid into the corners of the pan and get all the flour up off the bottom. As it thickens add more liquid, then whisk, thicken, and add more liquid until you've got it all in. Toss in the broccoli and blender everything smooth. Stick blenders work wonders in situations like this. Taste for salt and pepper and you're off to the races.

The sauce can wait as you cook the pasta in a lot of boiling water (more than you think would be necessary) for a few minutes.