Tuesday, December 28

New Year in Italy.......

No, Santa didn't leave a plane ticket to Rome in my Christmas stocking, which wasn't a complete surprise (I'm an optimist, but not delusional...) He did however, leave a pasta making attachment for my Kitchanaid, bellisimo!
After spending a couple of hours wrestling with my magazine mountain, and boxing up about a decade worth of Cuisines for the Hospice shop I was knackered and decided pasta making had to be easier. Unfortunately despite the pouring rain (serves me right for being moaning Mary about the heat) the humidity in still in the 90's, which I think may have affected my pasta. Still, I was pretty happy with a first attempt. I am doing my spring holiday clean room by room, so after tackling the kitchen (wish me luck!) I will need fortifying with a glass of bubbles and fresh pasta and pesto, yum!

The pumpkin and walnut sauce came about after seeing an open pumpkin ravioli on Trish's Paris Kitchen. She used wild mushrooms, but I could only find fresh buttons at the grocer. I added walnuts and sage, my sage plant has made a miraculous recovery from being near dead, so I wanted to use some..... The pumpkin I over-brought for Christmas day, it was a really yummy sauce for my fresh pasta, but would work just was well over dried fettuccine or even penne.

Fresh Pasta with Pumpkin, Mushroom and Walnut sauce

First make your pasta. I used the proportions from Jamie's Italy, that is six eggs to 600 grams of flour. This makes a lot of dough, I still have half in the fridge, it made about 950 grams of dough, I used 450 grams and made more than enough pasta for four people.

I used Tipo 00 flour, as I got some in my Xmas box, it felt lovely and fine in my fingers. I put all the flour on my table, broke the eggs into the middle, and started working it all together with my fingers, imagining I was sitting in a pretty frock in sunny Umbria, while my cherubic olive skinned children played outside in the grapevines, watching their impossibly handsome father chop wood or do something manly and Italian.........in reality Mr PK was beating the crap out of the wall trying to hang a picture while my pretty frock was actually badly creased linen pants covered in flour and a very sweaty T shirt..as for cherubic children, does a pissy cat suffering in the heat and collapsing under my feet count?

I read somewhere once the dough should be as smooth as a baby's bottom........my baby has a touch of cellulite, but after about eight minutes of kneading I was sweaty Betty and out of energy. It was pretty smooth, and bounced back when pressed the dough with my finger......

I cut the dough into smaller portions, and ran them through the pasta machine roller, getting gradually thinner with each roll. I look like I have made stockings.......!

 Changing attachments, I made fettuccine noodles , tossing them in flour to prevent sticking. In reality my kitchen was probably a little to humid, but they were ok, only a few sticking together in the cooking water.

While the water came to the boil, I made the sauce.

Pumpkin mushroom and walnut sauce

1/2 Pumpkin-peeled and diced into small cubes
Splash of oil and a knob of butter
Handful of mushrooms - any kind you like, sliced
Tbsp chopped sage
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
Splash white wine
1/2 cup of cream
Pasta cooking water
Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

Heat the oil over med heat and add the pumpkin. Fry for about 10 minutes until soft and beginning to colour. Take out of the pan and leave to one side. Add a splash more oil to the pan and a small knob of butter. Toss in the mushrooms and fry until browned. Stir the sage and garlic in, and cook for another minute or so.
Add the wine, picking up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, then add the pumpkin back to the pan, with the walnuts and cream. Stir the whole thing together until bubbling, check the seasoning then thin as necessary with some of the water you cooked the pasta in.
Pour over your cooked pasta, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, yummo.

I am looking forward to more fun with my pasta machine, and my other Christmas goodies. A vintage fondue maker will make an appearance when the weather cools down, and I have the wonderful Tender Vol 2 by Nigel Slater to read. Each year my younger sister and her partner make me up a box of food goodies, this year I have a few of may favs such as Chardonnay vinegar and goose fat, and some new treats including squid ink, truffle pasta, and a rather divine concoction made from Vincotto and cocoa, so many things to play with....!

I hope you had a lovely holiday, and are looking forward to a new year with anticipation. I am not sure what mine holds, happily Dad was out of hospital and home for Christmas day, and we hope things will improve in the coming weeks. I have decided to just be thankful for every good thing that comes my way, big or small. Sometimes we get so caught up in the big picture we forget the small stuff that makes up a life actually lived.
 As John Lennon famously said, "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans".......

Off to have another shower, than a My Skied episode of Midsomer Murders, ( Joy, I think it is one I have not seen!) and a cheeky glass of wine, now that sounds like a fun plan.........


  1. You can make your own tipo flour by replacing 2 tablespoons of cornflour per cup of flour and then sieving the flour a couple of times.

  2. i am green with envy over the pasta attachment .... and have tears rolling down my cheeks looking at the pasta stockings !!! x ...

  3. Look at all that pasta you made! I only ever use high grade flour but will try Stef's tip with the corn flour next time. How funny you got a fondue set, we actually had cheese fondue last night, we don't care about the heat when it comes to eating cheese! We have a very cool orange and red fondue set from the 70s, family air loom.


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