Sunday, October 25, 2009

Adventures in Pasta Making

  • I got the new book The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen and saw beautiful pictures of tortellini and ravioli and decided that I NEEEEEded a pasta maker. Lucky for me I found a reputable Italian one (Atlas 150 ) on Craigslist, barely used, for $12. That totally seems worth the experiment. I am tired of picking up fresh pasta packages in the store to find they used egg in the pasta, or if I do find vegan raviolis or tortellinis in the freezer section, the filling tastes like bleah. Definitely needed to experiment!

    I decided to make Tortellini based on a recipe in The Conscious Cook and I pulled out the pasta maker today. Here are some tips I learned by 2/3 through my dough:

    1. Recipe says roll pasta out to smallest setting on pasta maker. My smallest setting is 6 and I can see through setting 5. I could handle 5, but liked setting 4 better.

    2. After cutting your dough circle for tortellini, never ever ever tap your spoon on the dough to get the rest of the filling out onto the dough. This important lesson was unfortunately figured out near the end of my test. I'd pull the circle over to close it up and it would split. Finally I figure out that the split was exactly where my spoon had tapped.

    3. Work with tiny amounts of dough at a time - seriously, like a golf ball+ size. This is especially important if you don't have 2 sets of hands to guide the dough out and keep it from piling up and sticking together.

    4. If your c clamp doesn't go high enough to secure the pasta maker to your counter top, you can place a cutting board under the pasta maker.


    The last couple of tortellini batches through the pasta machine turned out really well and I had enough of the size 4 and size 5 pastas that we were able to compare. We liked the thicker tortellini (size 4) but that might just be personal preference.

    I started with a recipe from the Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen for asparagus tortellini with Saffron Cream Sauce. But, I wanted winter squash stuffed tortellini so I made up my own filling and then added fresh sage and garlic to the sauce along with the shallot and left out the saffron. Holy Cow was this good. I told Mike that if you put a bowl of this sauce next to a bowl of ice cream that I would choose the sauce. When I originally got this book I was annoyed that a lot of the recipes called for homemade cashew cream... but now I think Tal is a genius. That cashew cream is the bomb. And the sauce made with the cashew cream is amazing. Should I keep going on and on and on?

    The picture is not great, but the food definitely was. My camera ran out of battery after I'd only taken a couple of shots of the food.


    The filling was made from roasted garlic and roasted carnival squash:

    The filling was yummy but I think a little too liquidy. I might try adding some tofu ricotta to it next time. I only used about half the filling in the tortellini, so the rest will be going onto a pizza later in the week! This filling (and sauce) would be freakin' awesome in a lasagne. Here is the recipe for the filling:

    Roasted Garlic Squash Filling

    2 carnival squash
    1 head garlic
    1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
    salt and pepper
    1/2 tsp dried sage
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    1-2 Tbsp cashew cream
    1/4 tsp pepper
    2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

    Preheat oven to 375. Cut squash in half and rub cut side with olive oil. Place face down on a cookie sheet. Wrap head of garlic in foil (drizzle in some olive oil, salt, and pepper before sealing up). Roast for 45 min to an hour till squash is very tender.

    Scrape squash out with a fork (to loosen) and a spoon into a food processor. Squeeze the roasted garlic into the food proccessor. Add the remaining ingredients and blend till smooth.

  • 1 comment:

    1. That looks awesome! I've also been eyeing that tortellini recipe since I got the book. Love the sound of your filling!