Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Lesson from MasterChef

On Fox's MasterChef, the latest in a long line of reality cooking shows, home cooks compete for cash and glory. During a recent episode, contestants who lost a cafeteria lunch challenge had to endure a "Pressure Test" by making Ravioli with Spinach & Ricotta Filling from scratch in an hour. (We know they would've loved to sneak a peek at this Ravioli recipe)

Even the most accomplished home cooks struggle to make pasta from scratch, so the FoodPair Team got together to find the best tips and recipes for making delicious fresh pasta in the comfort of your own home.

First off, what do you need? To make one pound of fresh pasta, you'll need 2 cups of Unbleached Flour, 3 Large Eggs and a 1/4 teaspoon of Salt. And that's it!

Once all your ingredients are assembled, we like to shape the flour into a mountain and then collapse the top to make a volcano. Crack the eggs into the top of your flour volcano and using a fork, gently mix the eggs into the flour until they're fully incorporated. Next you'll need to knead the dough for several minutes until it feels smooth to the touch. A quick tip: if the dough seems too dry, add a little more egg; if it's too wet and sticky, rub your hands with extra flour.

Next, form the dough into a ball and let it rest for 15 minutes while you daydream about the rolling hills of Tuscany. After that, you're ready to flatten the dough and run it through a pasta machine (or flatten it with a rolling pin). Keep flattening the dough until it's 1/16th of an inch thick, or just translucent.

Finally, cut the pasta into any shape you like and let it dry for a couple hours. Since you've just made fresh pasta, you only need to cook it in boiling water for a couple minutes until it's ready. Your batch of fresh pasta will keep for up to one week if you don't want to eat it all at once.

Don't give up! But, just in case you can't make fresh pasta tonight, just whip up a batch of Raw Vegetable "Pasta" with Tomatoes and Herbs.

With your fresh pasta, you can make any dish you like from Linguini to Ravioli to Penne, so fire up the FoodPair search engine and check out all the great pasta dishes we've collected from across the Web.

Chicken Pasta with Thyme-Mint Cream Sauce
Here's a great pasta recipe with chicken.
Ingredients: honey, olive oil, chicken, mint, thyme, sherry vinegar, lemon zest, salt, chicken stock, black pepper, whipping cream, white wine, linguine

Mom's Pasta Primavera
We love this dish because it's packed with fresh veggies.
Ingredients: eggplant, olive oil, Parmesan, zucchini, red onion, cherry tomato, green bell pepper, carrot, pasta, garlic salt, Italian spices, marinara sauce

Penne with Fresh Greens
This is a beautiful dish with hearty leaves of kale.
Ingredients: garlic, olive oil, red onion, thyme, red bell pepper, bay leaf, kale, vegetable stock, penne

Now it's time to cook and eat!

Any other favorite ingredients or dishes you'd like us to highlight? Post them in the comments section or on our Facebook page! And while you're at it, "Like" us on Facebook to get helpful updates in your news feed.


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