Tomato sauce from your kitchen

I’m often asked about what kind or kinds of tomato sauce I use with my fresh pasta. The answer is as simple as it is complex: depends on the final dish taste I’m after. I’m a huge fan of any sauce that starts with the holy trinity of diced onion, carrot and celery. From there, it’s a free-for-all of whatever I have on hand and/or feel like making up as I go along.

Here is a great resource guide for those of you looking to find the right taste for your dish. I love the Marcella Hazan butter tomato sauce, but sometimes I will make basic sauce sans butter {gasp} so I can add a cream product instead. Don’t forget to read the very helpful comments on that post. Many great tips and thoughts by home cooks in that post.

I’m not big on garlic or marinara sauce because of what it does to my breath for the following week, but a small bit isn’t a bad thing as long as you find a way to add a lot of mint or parsley to the plated meal somehow. Parsley and mint have long been known as natural breath freshener. Or, as I like to call it, garlic breath canceller. It’s not just garnish you leave on the side of your finish plate, kids. Not at all. Use it! It really does work. Trust me.

Pumpkin Pasta – Try #1

Pumpkin Fettucine

Pumpkin Fettucine

I had some pumpkin puree kicking around in the fridge that was threatening to go bad on me, so I cooked it down and added it to a bunch of flour and water to make a lovely pumpkin pasta. I’ve been talking about doing this for so long, and after weeks on end of being distracted and taken away from my kitchen, I finally found a few hours to bang this out.

Pumpkin Pasta Dough

Pumpkin Pasta Dough

The basic recipe for my Pumpkin Fettucine Dough is as follows:
3 C semolina flour
1 tea sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 C cooked canned pumpkin puree
Spring or filtered water, as needed

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl till a ball forms, and then turn it out onto a floured workspace. Knead the ball till your hands are no longer sticking to the dough and the dough springs back when you press your thumb into it. This should take you about 8 to 10 minutes. Wrap in plastic film and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before you start rolling it out by hand or in stand mixer attachments. Store any unused dough wrapped up tightly in more plastic wrap to use up in the next two days in your fridge.

I served this pumpkin fettucine a light dinner with some pasta sauce, freshly cracked paper and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. So, what did I think of it? Ech. It was ok. Without the inclusion of egg anywhere in the dough, the noodles were limp and too soft to get a perfect al dente chew. I will have to redo this dough and add eggs to see if that’s where this recipe fails for me.

Pasta done differently

While on the subject of looking at pasta different, I’m looking for new ways of making time-honoured pasta dishes today. Some of these might look interesting to you as well. Have a look:

Pasta Lasagna Rolls – take your favourite lasagna recipe and present it differently
Vegetarian Pasta Bake – this one utilises chickpeas – I’ll have to try this very soon
Ricotta & Arugula Pasta – I don’t use enough greens with my pasta – must correct this
Butternut Squash Carbonara – lovely Fall twist on traditional creamy carbonara sauce
Lasagna Tart – This reminds me of a pizza or thin wedge of frittata – fantastic!

What do you think? Anything on this list that screams, “Make me!!”? Pull up a fork and share.

Fall Fruit Desserts

It must be that time of the year where everyone has a plethora of really wonderful baking fruits in their bounty baskets to use up because so many of us reached for our best cobbler and crisp recipes over the weekend. Here’s mine, and some others I came across in my blog stalking today. Enjoy!

Apple Blueberry Crisp

Apple Blueberry Crisp

Peach Cobbler by Don over at Foodie Prints
Peach Cobbler by Radmila over at Papamo
Apple Sauce over at The Pastry Affair
Dipped Apples by Ree over at The Pioneer Woman