Thursday, August 11, 2011

Homemade Noodles Made Our Perfect Pasta Night


A few evenings ago, we were hosting relatives of my husband, visiting from Italy. 

They insisted on preparing an authentic Italian dinner.  I knew I was in for quite a treat—both in the food, as well as the time spent together during the preparation.

Sara began by making homemade pasta noodles from scratch.  Using the simplest of ingredients—flour, egg, and a lot of love---she carefully created the dough.   

My daughter, Francesca, assisted by rolling the dough flat.  The preparation of this dinner quickly became a family event, and allowed us time to converse and laugh together.  

When it was ready, the dough was cut into perfect fettucini-size pasta noodles.

I decided to get involved by making a delicious tomato sauce from a family recipe.

After warming everything, we married the pasta and tomato sauce together and refrains of "manga, manga" were being spoken throughout the kitchen, as everyone was eager to sit together and eat.

The time we spent together preparing the meal, as well as enjoying it was sublime.  Connecting with family in the kitchen during the preparation of any meal, and then sharing that meal together around the table, truly creates memories and meaning.

While not everyone has Italian relatives with a family pasta recipe or the preparation time to make homemade noodles, fresh noodles can be found at nearly every grocery store and at many farmers markets. 


I encourage you to have a family pasta night.  Get the family involved in making a salad, some garlic bread, and setting a beautiful table.  That's exactly why I designed my Pasta Italiana Collection.  The large serving bowl and pasta bowls make it easy for families to start the tradition of "Pasta Night".  The 4 individual designs on the pasta bowls include hand-scribed pasta recipes.  The greens, reds, and whites in the design combine beautifully with the colors of your family's favorite pasta.


To help get you started, I'd like to share my homemade tomato sauce recipe with you.  Enjoy!    


Tomato Sauce
serves 4


1 large carrot
2 ribs celery with leaves
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
½ good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 (28 ounce) cans San Marzano Roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon sugar (if necessary)
½ cup heavy cream
Pinch of pepperoncini, or hot red pepper flakes

Dice the carrot, celery, onion, and garlic (this can also be done in a food processor).

Put the oil in a large saucepan and place over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chopped vegetables to the pan and saut√© over medium heat until just soft, about 5 minutes.

Puree the tomatoes in a food processor, then add them to the pan.  Add the salt, and sugar If necessary (I find that the San Marzanos are usually sweet enough on their own).  Let the sauce simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Add the cream and simmer gently for 30 minutes; do not boil, or the sauce could curdle.  Add the pepperoncini, then serve over pasta.

Note:  This sauce is a great base sauce that can also be modified with meat, other vegetables, or vodka for variation.


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