This year, I wanted to start a new holiday tradition, a special holiday supper prepared by the whole family and served family style. Today, we’re pulling out all the stops with a red and green meal. We’ll be making homemade Bowtie Pasta three ways : simple, basil lemon garlic [my fave], and spicy sundried tomato. Farfalle for all!!
And, since we’re making so many flavours, we’ll be freezing our remaining fresh pasta to save for an easy Christmas Day Lunch!
How will we top our homemade pasta now and when boil up the frozen bowties again on Christmas Day? As simply as possible! The kids love to eat their pasta with just a drizzle of butter or oil and grated parmesean. I prefer a simple red sauce. I’m still not willing to give away my Nona’s recipe, but Marcella Hazan’s famous tomato sauce is super easy to make and has never ever failed me:
Simply combine two halves of a sweet onion with 5 tablespoons of butter and a 28-ounce can of whole roma tomatoes in their liquid. Heat uncovered over medium heat for about three-quarters of an hour, smashing tomatoes occasionally and salting as needed. Remove the onion and serve. I like to add a few anchoves in oil at the outset of the cooking and let them dissolve in the sauce as it simmers.
Are you ready for a pasta making party or what?
The Lunchbox Season's Homemade Pasta Three Ways
- 1 3/4 cups sifted flour plus extra flour for kneading, rolling and dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs for unflavoured pasta 2 eggs for flavoured pasta
- 1 tbs olive or vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons flavouring if using
- 1 teaspoon oil for coating dough before refrigeration
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- zest of 1/2 a lemon [about 2 teaspoons]
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Spicy Sundried Tomato Flavouring
- 1/3 cup sundried tomatoes removed from their packing in oil
- 1 tablespoon of the oil from the jar olive oil, or vegetable oil
- 1/8-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- If you are using a flavouring, make it by pulsing the ingredients in a food processor.
- Place the flour and salt in the food processor [along with the optional flavourings].
- Add the eggs and oil to the food processor.
- Pulse until the mixture forms into a ball of sticky dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean, flour-dusted surface and gently fold the dough on itself, kneading into a smooth elastic ball. [You can incorporate up to about 1/4 cup additional flour at this time, but keep the dough on the sticky side.]
- Cover the dough in plastic and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Dough can be also be refrigerated at this point [for up to 24 hours] and then returned to room temperature before rolling out.
- Divide the dough into four portions.
- *Set a pasta maker's roller to the thickest setting. [Ours was a 6, the highest setting on the lovely Imperial machine we borrowed from our neighbours. But, on other models, the widest setting will be the lowest number, 1.]
- Roll the quarter of pastry in a bit of flour and knead it a little so that it will not stick to the rollers.
- Flatten the pastry into a nice rectangle and feed it through the pasta roller twice.
- Fold the sheet in three and feed it through the roller two more times.
- Change the setting on the pasta maker by just one measure [making the space between the rollers 1 size smaller] and pass the sheet of pasta through again.
- Gradually reduce the settings on the pasta maker, one pass at time, until the pasta achieves the required thickness. As you work, be sure to dust the sheet of pasta with a bit of flour if it becomes sticky. [We went from a 6 to a 2.] If you don't need super-long pasta, and if you are having trouble getting such a long piece through the machine without folding, you can slice the dough in half mid-way through and process each half separately. We stopped at the penultimate setting for our farfalle. And we'd do the same for long noodles. You will want to make filled pastas like ravioli as thin as possible.
- After the dough has reached the correct thickness, dust it with a little flour on both sides.
- Shape your pasta: Run your pasta through the machine to make spaghetti or fettuccini or cut the pasta into shapes of your liking. To make bowtie shapes, also known as farfalle, place the pasta sheets on a lightly floured surface and cut them into equal sized rectangles with a pizza wheel and/or a fluted pastry cutter. With the rectangles in "landscape" orientation, place an index finger in the centre of the rectangle and gather it into a bowtie by bringing the two outside edges together with the thumb and middle finger. Then, pinch the bowtie tighter as you see fit.
- To cook pasta right away, place in a pot of salted, boiling water for 4-5 minutes.
- To freeze the pasta, as we did with our extras, place the pasta on parchment lined pans [spaghetti can go in "nest" shapes] and place each pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes to 1 hour. When the pasta is frozen, place it in plastic bags or freezer safe containers and store it for up to 3 months. Cook the frozen pasta in salted, boiling water for 5-6 minutes.
- To dry, lay bowtie pasta on parchment-lined cookie sheets, turning pasta carefully after it begins to become brittle. Hang long noodles on hangers, chair-backs or standing towel racks until hard. Store in an airtight container.
Now, eat like wolf!!