After numerous mediocre attempts at making pasta, I think I’m finally starting to get it. And since my wife’s craving for ground beef during this pregnancy hasn’t subsided, the timing couldn’t be better.
1. dough it: To make two big servings of pasta, mix .75C AP flour and 0.5C semolina flour with two eggs, a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon or two of oil. Once it forms into a ball, knead it for about five minutes. Then let it rest.
2. brown it: brown 1 pound of ground beef or hamburger. I also happened to have half a dozen mushrooms sitting in the fridge. My wife likes mushrooms, so I sliced them up and added them to the pan.
3. dump it: add 1 jar of prepared tomato sauce to the pan. I used a can of grocery store brand sauce that was on sale for $1 per jar. It was a 23.75 oz jar. My guess that it used to contain 24 oz, but the company reduced the volume of sauce by 0.25oz per jar as a cost saving measure.
4. roll it: while the sauce simmers away, start rolling out the pasta. I cut up the pasta dough into four pieces to make it easier to work with in my tiny kitchen. My pasta machine has settings from 1 through 7. 7 is the thickest and 1 is the thinnest. I usually run the pasta through a couple times on 7, 5, and then 3.
5. fold it it: once the dough is rolled out, fold it in half and then in half again. You’ll need to sprinkle a lot of extra flour to keep everything from sticking together. It is amazing how much extra flour this process takes.
6. cut it: Slice the pasta to your desired thickness. Keep in mind that the pasta expands as it cooks. So if you cut it as thin as linguini, then it will end up like tagliatelle. If you cut it as thick at tagliatelle, it will end up like pappardelle.
7. unfold it: once it’s cut, unfold the pasta. Whenever I cut pasta, I intentionally fold it so that there’s a little extra pasta at the edge. This gives you something to grab on to when you’re trying to unfold the noodles.
8. boil it: repeat the noodle process with the rest of the pasta dough, simmering the meat sauce the entire time. Once all the noodles have been cut, set them in a pot of boiling water. Since this is fresh pasta you’re dealing with, it cooks really fast.
9. sauce it: dish out the noodles and add sauce. I topped this with some grated asiago. I would normally add red pepper flakes and some other herbs, but my pregnant wife has been getting a lot of heartburn lately.
10. eat it: even without the extra seasonings that I would normally want in a meat sauce, this is really good. I think I could eat this like once a week and never get tired of it. When you let the tomato sauce simmer, it concentrates the tomato flavor and the sauce picks up a pleasant thickness. And since it simmers with the browned ground beef, the flavors of the sauce and the meat marry nicely.