Cooking with Kids, Homemade Pasta
Cooking with Kids, Homemade Pasta
Can you guess a child made this fresh homemade pasta?
Yes. It is true. Today’s fettuccine dish was the first pasta making experience for my eight year old grandson the J-Dude.
This is what real cooking looks like, unpolished, and full of joy in the special moment shared together. This is what it is really all about when cooking with kids, it doesn’t need to be perfect. It needs to be fun. There is no waiting for a special moment.
Now, as I shared with you the Dude is eight so I ask you, what does a boy of eight like more than equipment? Motorized Equipment.
Since this is 2014, I suppose I’m required to make the disclaimer, yes, you do need to supervise eight year old boys with food processors, mixers, and pasta attachments, including when you get to the cutter attachment.
One of the Dude’s favorite jobs is pulsing the food processor. He’s quite good at it and with experience has actually become accomplished at not pulsing to a full blasted roar. This is important in preparing food processor pasta dough.
Then there is the bit of kneading, another enjoyable job using ones hands and not requiring as much time and effort when using the food processor first, just long enough before becoming bored.
The fun really kicks in on the pasta with the exciting adventure and all time favorite blast of feeding each piece of dough through the pasta sheet roller, folding it up into thirds before feeding it through again, and again, and again, the goal of course, making the pasta sheets as long as he possibly could. And why not? It’s all part of the fun and the experience.
By the time each pasta sheet was completed and cut, we had some really, really, really, long fettuccine noodles. All I could think of was the scene from one of my very favorite movies, Defending Your Life. Taking place in Judgement City after death where everyone can ‘eat all they like, as much as they like’ of the best foods on earth with no consequence. Albert Brook becomes sheepishly horrified at the table when his dining partner (and true love) Meryl Streep, pleasurably slurps up these really, really long strands of pasta while barely being able to focus on eating his choice of the best shrimp ever due to his prosecutor being in the same restaurant.
It took the child in this case to bring the adult back from movie land thinking how much fun it might just be to slurp up some really, really, long noodles. The Dude suggested we cut the long fettuccine strands in half bringing them to just about standard size. I got back to the adult world of roasting the garlic and tomatoes. And as for the J-Dude, there are other fun things besides only cooking with ones Me-Mom.
It was off with his buddies and roller blading, bike riding, exercising the new pet hermit crabs on the deck.
Cooking with Kids, Homemade Pasta, is a great activity for sharing time together, having fun, and creating special memories just living in the moment.
- For the Homemade Pasta:
- 2 cups flour, evenly leveled
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water, a bit more or less
- For the Roasted Garlic, Cherry Tomatoes, and Basil Topping:
- 1 1/2- 2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 whole head garlic, unpeeled
- 3 tablespoons plus more olive oil
- coarse kosher salt
- cracked black pepper
- 12 basil leaves, approximately, stacked, rolled, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- For the Homemade Pasta: Lightly stir together the beaten eggs and olive oil in a small bowl. Add flour into a food processor, pour in the egg mixture and pulse a half dozen times, about twenty seconds. Drizzle in the 2 tablespoons of water a bit at a time while continuing to pulse until the dough just comes together nearly forming a ball. Remove dough from food processor and place onto a lightly floured work space. Knead dough about five times rolling the dough and pressing down, then turning over and repeating
- Place dough ball into a large mixing bowl and cover with a towel, let sit at room temperature for about an hour
- Insert the pasta attachment to a Kitchen Aid mixer. Cut pasta into four even pieces, keeping each piece of pasta covered until using
- Following directions on the width progression, begin feeding the first pasta piece through the machine, then folding it into thirds and feeding again. As the pasta is rolled to desired thickness set aside and cover with a clean kitchen towel, then roll through the next piece of pasta and cover until all sheets are done
- Remove the roller attachment and adjust on the pasta cutter. Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper set on a baking sheet. Feed the flat sheets of pasta, catching the cut strips as they stream through. Lay finished fettuccine strips evenly across the parchment, cut pasta strips to desired length
- Cover fettuccine well and place into freezer for at least an hour before cooking
- Preparing the Roasted Garlic, Cherry Tomatoes, and Basil: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tumble cherry tomatoes onto a parchment lined baking sheet, toss with 3 tablespoons olive oil and a couple pinches each salt and pepper, roast for thirty-five minutes, more or less until lightly blistering
- Set a whole head of garlic with the peel into a small ramekin or bowl, add a few generous tablespoons water, cover tightly with aluminum foil and set into oven with the tomatoes. Roast around twenty minutes, remove from oven, let cool then remove the outer paper covering, setting the roasted garlic meat into a large glass bowl
- Mash roasted garlic using a fork then stir in an eighth cup olive oil, tumble in the roasted tomatoes and the basil strips, sprinkle in a pinch each of salt and pepper, stir, check seasoning adjusting to taste
- Cook the fresh pasta in salted boiling water to el dente, about three to five minutes. Taste a strip to test for done-ness
- Drain cooked pasta, remove to a large serving platter. Stir through 2 tablespoons olive oil, the fresh chopped parsley, and a couple pinches each kosher salt and pepper
- Transfer pasta to individual serving dishes then evenly top with the roasted garlic and cherry tomato sauce