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Homemade Pasta with Mushrooms, Leeks and Roasted Tomatoes

26 Jan

I almost didn’t write about this meal.  I am afraid that my words and pictures will not do it justice.  It looks and sounds so simple.  It started off as a meal put together because we didn’t want to go outside, in the cold, to pick up more ingredients for dinner.  This pasta was so delicious that in the future, I will go out in the cold, in the snow, in the rain, to get the ingredients required to make this dish.

The fresh pasta, I know you will understand, was heavenly.  But the sauce, oh the sauce!   There are certain ingredients that make me seem like a better cook than I am, ingredients that add subtle depth to a dish.  Shallots, lemon zest and juice, chicken stock are a few of those magical ingredients.  Leeks are another and leeks are the key to this sauce.  This sauce tastes like there are secrets stirred in; there are no secrets, not after this post at least, there are only leeks and butter and a little bacon.

First, the pasta.  We generally use Thomas Keller’s agnolotti recipe to make fresh pasta.  It has 6 egg yolks in it — that is what makes it so silky and sublime.  We tried to lighten it up a bit and the recipe that we used didn’t work. It wouldn’t come together, it refused to become dough.  I kept adding things until we ended up with something resembling pasta dough. I rolled it out using the pasta roller attachment and passed it through the fettuccine cutter.  Lesson learned, Thomas Keller knows best.

Fresh Pasta Tip Number One:  Always lay your freshly rolled sheets of pasta on wax paper dusted with flour.  I tried to only use the wax paper.  Martin kindly suggested that I add some flour to make my life a little easier, I demurred, and you know what happened?  I had to roll it all out again when the strands of freshly cut fettuccine ended up stuck together in a tangled mess.

Fresh Pasta Tip Number Two: Pasta dough freezes beautifully and de-frosts quickly.  We made the full recipe and froze half of it, rolling out and cutting the other half.

Fresh Pasta Tip Number Three:  Don’t over cook it!  Fresh pasta needs maybe three minutes in a pot of salted boiling water.  Just until it floats.  Err on the side of underdone; it will cook a little longer in the pan with the sauce.

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