Sunday, February 28, 2010

Short Rib Ragu and Homemade Pappardelle

So here's part deux of the double sauce Thursday.  Since my short rib ragu was already made, I decided to do homemade pasta this afternoon.  I followed Marcella Hazan's pasta making directions in her book, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.  The recipe is standard, but her explanations and tips are, well, essential, if you have not made pasta before.  The first time I made pasta, my neighbor had given me fresh eggs her chickens had laid.  The eggs were deep dark yellow, almost orange in color.  They were more taught and the whites less runny than store bought eggs.  I've read the more stiff the whites, the fresher the eggs are.  That was some delicious pasta.  Since you are working with a two ingredient item, the better your ingredient, the better your result.  I should have thought ahead and bartered fresh eggs for some fresh pasta.
This is my 4th time making pasta, and each time, my little well breaks sooner than wanted, spilling out the eggs, resulting in a mad dash of sorts to keep it all from rolling flat out onto my counter.  My hands rush all over the board, like I'm trying to catch a run away chicken.  A pastry scraper in one hand helps rein it all in.  With only one sticky, gooey hand, it's easier to get the mixture into a ball.
The pasta roller is a necessity if you are to make your own pasta.  I contemplated rolling out the dough myself.. now that I've done it with the machine, I cannot imagine achieving the same result on my own.  Once rolled, I cut each really long sheet in half and then used a roller cutter to cut into pappardelle width. 


I have our friends Jim and Lisa to thank for my delve into homemade pasta.  We had the most amazing ravioli at their house and I could not believe the difference in the texture and consistency of the pasta.  It immediately rose to the top of my list of have to do's.  
They are also responsible for the short rib ragu.  We were immediately in love and knew it would become a staple in our house.  I love it because it freezes so well, so when you need something sooo delicious and don't have time to make it, bring out this fabulous sauce and impress yourself all over again.
I'm not sure if I have the same recipe they used, but I used a recipe from Food Network.  The best combination of meat I found was short ribs and a cut of leaner steak.  It makes for a less fatty ragu.  I used about 3lbs of short ribs and  1lb of steak.  Any steak will do as you will be cooking this down to a pull apart state.  It is rich and fulfilling.  The pasta cooks in 1 1/2 minutes and is superb.  Stella's comment was "it doesn't taste water bleached, like all the good taste was sucked out by the water.  You can taste the pasta."
  

3 comments:

  1. Love your blog... At first I thought, she's posting the next day so she won't have people "just dropping by" around dinner time but then I realized from seeing this, any day would be a great day to drop by your house! :)
    But seriously, lots of fun... except weren't you supposed to let me know when you made spring rolls next?

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  2. As you know, I had the honor of tasting this - out of this world, like everything you make...

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  3. H, yes.. I still owe you the spring roll session! As the days get longer, I will emerge from my house and we will have to do a pre FNHH spring roll session.

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