Category Archives: Pasta

Homemade Pasta Recipe

Homemade Pasta

Homemade pasta is easier to make than you think, and once you get the process down, you’ll never go back to the dry stuff. This recipe is easy, fun and delicious!

You will need:

  • 150g all-purpose flour per serving
  • 1 large egg per serving
  • a dash of extra virgin olive oil
  • some warm water (just a couple tablespoons)
  • a touch of salt

I know I’m vague with the amounts, but this is one of those recipes that takes practice and a little experience to get used to. Just like with any dough, you need to use your senses to know if it’s coming together properly.

In a bowl of your mixer, start with the flour (I use 20-30% semolina with the all-purpose flour for texture). Add the eggs, olive oil and combine, using the dough hook on medium speed. See how the dough is combining. If it looks dry, add a touch of water until it comes together. After a couple minutes, it should just come together into a rough ball. When it does that, shut off the mixer and turn the dough onto a floured work surface.

Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes. Continually turn and fold the dough over itself until you work up a sweat. When that’s done, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes, your dough will be pliable and beautiful. Cut into manageable chunks and roll thin enough to put through your pasta roller on the widest setting. Roll through each setting twice, folding the rolled sheet in half after each pass. Continue to roll on every second setting until you get to the thinnest setting. Once that’s done, use the cutter or a knife to cut into the desired width.

Boil in plenty of salted water until done. Fresh pasta only takes a couple minutes to cook, so be sure to test it after about a minute and a half. Serve with your favourite pasta sauce and enjoy!

Pico de Gallo Pasta and Seared Scallops

Pico de Gallo Paste with Seared Scallops

This handmade pasta has a slightly spicy Pico de Gallo cream sauce with hints of lime and fresh cilantro. The spectacular pan seared scallops are from Digby, Nova Scotia and are diver harvested. They’re tender, sweet and so easy to prepare. So I hope you’re ready for some serious eating!

For the Pico de Gallo pasta sauce, you will need (for 2):

  • 3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 1 red chili pepper, diced
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • a handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 250 ml heavy cream
  • salt and pepper
  • your favourite pasta (fettuccini or linguini is great for this)

Start with a deep skillet with some oil on medium heat. To that, add a couple cloves of minced garlic and cook til fragrant. Next, add ¼ cup of diced shallots and continue to cook for a couple minutes. Once your shallots have had a head start, it’s time to add 2 seeded and diced vine-ripened tomatoes. Continue to cook and stir until the tomatoes start to break down.

When the tomatoes are breaking down and starting to look like sauce, add 1 diced red chili, the juice of 1 lime and a handful of chopped cilantro. Now you can season with salt and pepper and call this your sauce, or continue by adding 1 cup of heavy cream. Once the cream is in, turn up to heat to a steady simmer and reduce by 50%, stirring frequently.

When the sauce has reduced by 50%, add the remaining diced tomato for colour and texture. Now grab a large mixing bowl and put in your freshly cooked pasta. (Here’s a tip: use tongs, never strain or rinse pasta!) In this case, we’re using fettuccini noodles. You also want to save a little of the pasta water, as the starch will help the sauce adhere to the noodles.

Add the finished sauce to the noodles and lightly toss until combined. Finish by adding more fresh cilantro leaves and freshly ground black pepper.

For the scallops, it’s very easy to do, but very easy to screw up. A couple of tips here as we go, first of all, use the freshest scallops you can get your hands on that are dry packed. Sometimes, scallops are shipped in water with sodium tripolyphosphate added to make them appear whiter and plumper. When you sear them, the moisture leaches out and you get steamed, rubbery scallops. Not something you want to pay good money for. It’s important that you have one ingredient: scallops.
So with a hot skillet with a couple tablespoons of oil, add the scallops in small batches. If you add too many at once, you’ll lower the temperature of the pan and steam the scallops again. The moment you place them on the hot surface, you’ll hear the sizzle and they will stick. That’s ok. Avoid temptation to move them around and leave them be.

From here, the cooking time will be very fast. You want to look at the meat as it cooks. Just like prawns, they will begin to turn opaque and the bottom will start to form a brown crust. When that happens, the scallop will be easier to lift off the pan. Gently lift the scallop from the pan and turn over. Once on the other side, add a dollop of butter to the pan and use a spoon to baste them til they’re done. Should only take a minute or 2. When they’re done, take out of the pan and set aside.

To plate everything up, simply place the scallops on a bed of the finished pasta and garnish with fresh cilantro leaves. Enjoy this recipe, make it yours and have fun in the kitchen!

Curry Carbonara Recipe Experiment – Test Kitchen Vlog

This Curry Carbonara mixes the exotic spice of curry with creamy egg yolks in this really easy pasta recipe. A textbook Carbonara consists of 4 classic elements: egg yolks, cheese, bacon and black pepper. I am experimenting tonight with some Szechuan peppercorn, a Chinese ingredient that has a signature numbing sensation on the palate. I thought that the Szechuan peppercorn would be an interesting fit with the curry spices. 

Curry Carbonara with Szechuan Peppercorn

For this recipe, I used:

  • 165g pasta (I used rice pasta since it was all I had on hand, use spaghetti)
  • 85g asparagus* (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (Madras or S&B)
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 4 rashers bacon

Start by cutting up the bacon into little quarter inch pieces and frying them til crispy. Drain on paper towels and set aside. Start boiling the pasta in a large pot of salted water. On the last minute or so of cooking, blanch the asparagus for 60 seconds then set aside. When the pasta is al dente, take out of the water (don’t strain it) and put it into a large mixing bowl. Add the bacon the asparagus and toss lightly. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to mix until combined. Salt and pepper to taste and that’s it. Serve up and enjoy!

**notes:

A few things with this recipe…

One: The Szechuan peppercorns would go really nice with a more prominent spicy kick. Next time, I think I will add some chili flakes.

Two: The curry blend should be more subtle. Perhaps half the amount and see what happens. 

Three: use spaghetti. The rice noodles don’t hold up very well to being tossed with tongs. They broke and end up looking like sh*t. Tasted good, but I guess I’m a stickler for details.

Fresh Handmade Pasta

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When it comes to great food, fresh is the ultimate way to go. Give me something made on-the-spot opposed to pre-packaged any day. In fact, I try to keep my consumption of packaged food minimal to zero. In today’s world, it’s getting increasingly difficult to keep everything simple. With all our time wrapped up in work, driving the kids to hockey practice, juggling schedules and generally stressing out, it’s simply easier to choose the convenient solution. I want to tell you that it doesn’t have to be like that. Today, I will show you a recipe for handmade pasta. It’s not something new. In fact, pasta has been made like this since the dawn of time… but it’s so easy and quick to do, you’ll be delightfully surprised. I often find making pasta and working with my hands to be quite therapeutic, so if you want some time to chill out and relax, make some pasta. The taste will make you never buy the box stuff again.
This recipe is simple. All you need is:

  • 1 egg per person
  • about 100g per person, all purpose, semolina or spelt flour

 Start with a mound of flour on your work surface or large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle, like a science project volcano. Add your eggs in the well and start to gently beat the eggs with a fork, slowly bringing in flour from the sides of the well. You want to do this until the mixture turns into a rough ball of dough. Take the dough ball in your hands and squeeze it. Does it feel sticky? If so, dust with a little more flour. If it’s too dry, add a drop or 2 of water, but not too much.

Knead the dough on your work surface for at least 15 minutes to get the elasticity working. Dust the surface with flour and work the ball with the heels of your hands, pushing away from you. Bring it back and repeat. Feels good, doesn’t it? Once you have given the dough a good workout, set aside for about 10-15 minutes. This resting time will make the dough easier to roll.

When you ready to roll, dust your rolling pin and surface lightly with flour. Roll the dough, rotating every so often and flipping over until you get it thin. You want to roll this thin enough to see through, since your pasta will expand to twice the thickness when you boil it. Trust me on this one. If the sheet gets too big to handle, you can cut it into manageable pieces and work from there. Once you have the dough thin enough, you can cut the noodles. Dust the dough sheet with flour and fold in half. Using a large chef’s knife, but the sheet into noodles as wide as you want. If you have kids, you can get them involved, cutting their own noodles with butter knives or rotary cutters and letting them watch you cook it. It’s good fun!

Fresh pasta takes only a couple minutes to cook. Get a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and add the pasta. Serve up with your favorite sauce and enjoy… no, really… sit back and savor your handiwork. You just made fresh pasta. You rock!

J

Spaghetti Carbonara

What a great summer we’ve been having. I savor every weekend I have and take the time to enjoy life. Let me take this opportunity to tell you that you have every right to live your life exactly the way you want to. Why should you settle for anything less? You make your reality, so let that sit in your head for a while and see what happens.

In this post, I will be teaching you a very simple Italian recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara. Like many recipes, I have given this one a little twist. The simplicity of this dish screams for creativity, but the basic recipe is the same. The thing I love about this recipe is the fact that it has such a rich and creamy sauce without using butter and cream. We are going to achieve this richness using egg yolks and the starch from the pasta. I have added a little almond milk to round it out.

You will need:

  • 70g bacon (in the video, I found some nice double-smoked deli bacon)
  • a small handful of chopped fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (you can use regular milk)
  • 2 room temperature egg yolks (1 per serving)
  • S&P to season
  • fresh parsley to garnish
  • spaghetti noodles (for 2)

So all you have to do is fry the bacon in a skillet and add the chives. You want to cook the bacon until it’s done, but not crisp. Once that’s done, add the milk and reduce slightly. When it’s done, remove from the heat and set aside.

When your spaghetti is done the way you like it, take it out of the water, but don’t put it in a strainer. You want the pasta wet with the starchy water. That starch is going to help thicken your sauce. Add the pasta to the skillet of sauce and mix well. During the mixing, add the egg yolks and continue mixing til well blended and rich. Season with salt and pepper to taste and plate up with more fresh chives or parsley to garnish. If you have parm, add that too, but you don’t really need it. Take this recipe home and make it yours. Enjoy and have fun in the kitchen!

J

Quick Spaghetti

I went to a friend’s place one weekend for some good old fashioned family fun time. As I’m not much of a planner and love to do things spontaneously, I figured I needed to cook something quick that would feed a large number of people. I got this great trick from Jamie Oliver, so I want to give credit where credit is due.

This spaghetti sauce with meatballs is incredibly easy and I hope you enjoy it. I made a lot. Ended up feeding about 7 adults and a few kids. Here’s what I used:

  • 2 large cans tomatoes, crushed or diced..up to you
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • some basil and oregano
  • a few fresh cloves of garlic
  • 1 package of your favorite Italian sausage
  • a splash of red wine
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
  • S&P
When I make this sauce at home for just the fam, it takes about as long as it takes to cook the pasta. The first thing you want to do is sweat the onions and garlic in some oil in a large pot on medium high for about 8 minutes. When that’s done, it’s time to make some meatballs.
Take the Italian sausage and cut the tips off one end. Then, pinch off the desired size that you want and simply squeeze the meat out into the pot with the onions and garlic. What did I tell you? Easy!
Turn up the heat and brown the meat until you get some fond on the bottom of the pot and a nice surface on the meatballs. When you’re ready, add the red wine and de-glaze all that wonderful flavour from the bottom of the pot. 
Next, add the tomatoes (the cans and the sundried), the basil and oregano and bring to a nice simmer. You want to cover and simmer this until everything comes together and the tomatoes break down. Depending on how much sauce you’re making, this could take from 10 – 20 minutes. Like I said, when you make this for 2 or 4 people, you’re probably only going to need 1 can of tomatoes so it will only take about as much time as it takes to boil the pasta. 
When you have simmered your sauce long enough, take that lid off and season with salt and pepper. Serve on your favourite pasta and finish with some fresh grated parmesan. Enjoy and have fun in the kitchen!
J

Tarako Spaghetti

Hello, everybody. It’s me again. It was a great weekend for food in the city of Calgary. At least it was for me. My friend, Kaori, hosted the much anticipated dinner party, “Ristorante Kaori”. You see, it all started with a dinner party that she hosted that featured Japanese hotpot. After the huge success of “Izakaya Kaori”, it was imperative that we have another one. So on Saturday night, we rolled up our sleeves and brought our best sauces for a pasta dinner to surpass all pasta dinners. The reason I love these dinners is that everyone brings a little bit of something to the table. That’s why I love pot lucks too.

I don’t know how to describe what I feel when I am spending quality time with close friends and enjoying fantastic food and drink. At first, my passion for cooking came from my passion for eating. lol. Later on, as I made new friends with the same taste for great food, my cooking began to mean something new. Yeah, I have cooked professionally before, but I can tell you that cooking for loved ones is simply one the best ways you can show you care.

I continually strive to learn new techniques and become better. I’m no chef by any stretch of the imagination, but I do what I do because I enjoy watching the reactions of my friends and family when they eat my cooking. It’s all about the experience, you know. It’s about how you felt the first time you had shrimp. It’s about remembering the taste of a simple cheeseburger when you were on your first date back in junior high. It’s remembering your first fondue in your mom’s avocado green fondue pot that’s probably packed in a box in your garage. Memories…

Tarako Spaghetti recipe is super easy. All you need is:

  • 2 Tbsp, butter
  • 1/4 cup, heavy cream
  • 2 tarako
Tarako is sold in a styrofoam box that is frozen. The roe is still in the egg sack and has to be cut open and scraped out. (like a sausage)
Heat up the butter in a skillet and add the tarako. Cook the tarako lightly until it turns a bright pink. When the tarako is pink, add the cream and simmer. Reduce the cream slightly til you get the creamy, rich consistency you want. For a secret kick, add a squirt of Kewpie mayo. That’s it!
Toss with some spaghetti noodles and top with furikake or finely chopped nori.

Improv Pasta

The Improv Pasta

This week’s edition of “A Cooking Video ” features my good friend, Miss Hands. She prepares a quick and delicious whole-wheat linguine with scallop tomato sauce and fresh basil. For this dinner, we used:

1 package – fresh Basil
1 yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 vine ripened tomatoes
200g, scallops, shrimp or whatever you have
1 Tbsp. butter
whole wheat linguine

Once you have the onions and garlic ready, the rest is pretty quick to put together. Seafood is great for fast meals since they take hardly any time to cook. So, watch the video, have fun in the kitchen and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thanks!