I’m a Pasta Fanatic… Aren’t You?

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If you’re not eating fresh pasta YOU ARE CRAZY!  Especially for the simple reason that it’s incredibly easy to make; not to mention the, “I can’t get enough fresh pasta” taste it leaves in your mouth after you’ve tossed the noodles in your favorite sauce.  I had someone comment on my homemade pasta video a while back.  They were so thankful for my simple little recipe.  This person even went out and bought a little hand churned Pasta maker for like $20 or $30 bucks and mentioned that they were going to start cranking’ that dough out so they could even stalk up the freezer and have it ready to go down the road.

So let’s talk about it shall we?  As you can see in this photo, I’ve got a pasta maker.  It’s been sitting in my storage unit for a while because I’ve been on the road working lately, BUT, was able to pull it out recently and grace my family with a few dishes that involved some freshly made egg noodles.  It doesn’t matter what you decide to make, whether it be Italian, Greek or some twist of your favorite Asian noodle dish, but one thing is for certain, if you’re pasta isn’t the right consistency, you are going to make a mess!  Now this isn’t a contradiction to my theory that pasta is incredibly easy to make, NO!  All I’m saying is, like anything else, you’ve just got to do it right!

You don’t have to follow my recipe by any means but I’ve laid out a basic instructional video for those of you that aren’t too familiar with making your own noodles and in fact don’t have any fancy gadgets or gizmos to “Get’R done”!  The most important thing to know are two simple steps for the final outcome.  ONE, make the dough Dense.  TWO, when the dough is rolled out for the slicing of the noodles, make absolutely sure the dough is dusted with flour and dry enough to separate; otherwise you’ll have a sticky mess.   Easy enough right?  Now watch this video and you’ll see just how easy it really is from any Poor Man’s Gourmet Kitchen!

The Full written original recipe can be found here http://poormansgourmetkitchen.com/making-fresh-pasta-from-scratch.html

Spaghetti with Angel Hair Pasta

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Just the Basics

This is one of the best Spaghetti dish’s I’ve ever had. The secret is in the simmer. You’ve got to let this baby reduce and get the most flavors you’ve ever loved from your favorite Italian seasonings, sink in and settle like little bombs for your taste buds to explode when they hit your tongue!

The meatballs are entirely another matter however and they are just as explosive. But, it’s something I haven’t decided to share with the rest of the world yet, and quite honestly I’ve misplaced my recipe’s “Exact” ingredients, so I’m sorry to say you’ll have to work with another recipe if you’re wanting Meatballs. In the meantime you can brown some Italian sausage and hamburger mix if you’d like to keep it simple and Americanized. I promise you it will be, almost as good! 😉

1/2 small onion, chopped (optional)
1 1/2-2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (3 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (7 1/2 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 cup beef stock or bouillon (for a long period of simmering for flavors to meld. If you don’t want to simmer it as long, add less)
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup red wine (a good Cabernet!)
1/2 lb Angel Hair Pasta
1/2 to taste parmesan cheese

Directions:
1 Add onions and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until onions are softened.
2 Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce and beef stock (bouillon).
3 Add basil, parsley, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.
4 Stir well and barely bring to a boil.
5 Stir in red wine.
6 Simmer on low, stirring frequently for at least an hour. A longer simmer makes for a better sauce, just be careful not to let it burn!
7 Cook the Angel Hair pasta Al dente. (This means under cook them and strain)
8 Add the pasta to the sauce and let it soak up the remaining liquid as it reduces, stirring frequently.
When the runniness is gone from the liquid, serve.

Calzones- Saucey, Meaty, Golden Brown and Cheesy

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Alrighty then; so here we have it, the infamous Calzones!  Now, for me these are to pizza what Beer is to football; I just GOTTA have one!  So if you’re anything like me, meaning you LOVE’s the football, how can you go wrong with packing an oven full of calzones on game day?  Hell, they even look like little footballs, don’t even try to deny it!  But I know the day of the game everyone is ordering their favorite pizza, but a lot of the regular fast action deliveries don’t have calzones on the menu.  So… whatcha-gunna do now??  Well read on and I’ll tell you how to solve this little problem, because with this recipe and my step by step how to video it’s literally as easy as hut-hut-HIKE!

Combine the following and let it stand 10 min. to activate.
You’ll know it’s activated if it doubles in size.

1 tsp. dry yeast
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 cup hot water 110 degrees f

Separate bowl Combine in the following order

1 cup hot water 110 degree (hot water out of your tap is fine)
3 cups BREAD flour (this is key, use bread flower)
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian Seasoning (Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram etc.)
1/2 tsp garlic powder

To make the Calzone dough, add the activated yeast and mix all ingredients together in a mixer or knead it by hand. It’s designed to be a little sticky, so adding a few tbls. of flour here and there to get it to a desired pizza dough consistency is normal if you need to. Roll the dough into a ball and thinly coat 2 tbls of olive oil on the outside to prevent dryness and cracking. Now just let it rise for the next hour or so, or even refrigerate if you’re wanting it for later. Just be sure the dough gets to room temperature and practically doubles in size before you roll it out for Calzones. Roll it out thin; maybe an 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch, TOPS! Next, throw down your favorite sauce (spaghetti sauce will even work), meats, veggies, whatever. Most use Mozzarella cheese but if you can 50/50 with Provolone, that’s the way to go, trust me; even Ricotta cheese is fantastic, especially if you use prosciutto.  At this point all you have to do is close the Calzone by folding the dough in half and pinch the sides all the way around the pocket(pie crust style), then cut a few slits in the top so the air can escape while it bakes.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees and baste the calzone/Calzone’s with egg wash while the temperature rises.  Egg wash is just a whipped egg and 1 Tbls of milk.  At this point if you’d like, you can call it good or you can throw down some sesame seeds over the top before the final bake.   A wooden slate or stone is best for baking but a pan works just fine. About 8 to 10 minutes is all it’s going to take for you to enjoy the final product.  I like to keep my eye on it and bake it ‘till it’s a nice golden shiny brown!  Either way, you’ll thank me!