Episode 1: “Pasta Without a Machine"
Okay. So, here's the scenario:
Your crazy landlord, Mr. Cacciatorre, is a cranky, old, Italian man with little to no compassion for your piss-poor-money-management-skilled-ass being late (yet again) with the rent. You’re already a week past due and you’re not going to have the money for another week a least (that’s a whole other story) which means you’re really two weeks behind schedule. Mr. Cacciatorre, of course, doesn’t know this yet as any time he comes banging on your door shouting “I know that you’re in there” you’ve gone and hid in the bathtub. He already told you last month that the next time you didn’t pay him on time your butt is out on the curb!
You have exactly zero dollars to your name beside whatever spare change might be hiding between the cushions of your sofa. However, you do have:
4 (four) cups of flour in your cupboard,
those salt & pepper shakers you stole from the all-night diner when you were drunk that time the other weekend,
1 (one) can of tomatoes leftover from a thanksgiving recipe last year that you never made,
a quarter bottle of cheap red wine you bought last night with the last of your cash funds,
2 eggs (those don’t go bad, right?),
the last remaining drops of cooking oil in the bottle,
enough quarters from the couch to walk to the store and buy a clove of garlic and a small, I mean very small, Vidalia onion.
So, you sneak out of your apartment (making damn sure Mr. Cacciatorre doesn’t spot you) and make your way to the corner grocery.
On your way back home, you skillfully steal a few leaves of basil from the herb box on your neighbor’s porch, think “What the hell?“ then grab a sprig of oregano as well.
Back in your apartment, with all the ingredients assembled, you, my friend, may just might have a fighting chance of staying in your apartment for one more month! And maybe even not go hungry to boot.
Chances are, since Mr. Cacciatorre’s mother was probably Italian like him, at some point (if not on a weekly basis) she made these inexpensive, delicious, fairly easy to make pasta called “cavatelli,” and chances are she served it with a classic homestyle Pomodoro (or in English: tomato sauce) and a little bit of parmesan regiano on top.
Now all you have to do is whip up the following recipe with the ingredients listed, bring them over to old Mr. Cacciatorre with a promise of paying him promptly next week, and you should be able to sleep indoors for the foreseeable future!
And if you happen to be able to scrounge together a few more bucks, I threw in a dope balsamic salad dressing recipe so you can pair these lovely cavatelli with lettuce and make a nutritious meal out of it!
Maybe Mr. Cacciatorre will be so grateful, he’ll invite you to sit down with him and eat some of it too!
1 (one) ½ lb. ricotta
3 (three) eggs
4 cups AP flour
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly by hand, kneading the dough or use an electric mixer.
2. Roll the dough out by hand into a long cylinder shape, using extra flour to help the dough to not stick.
3. Cut into small ½-1 inch pieces, roll on a cavatelli board or use a fork to make imprints for decoration and to help hold sauce to the pasta!
4. You are ready to cook your cavatelli now! Heat a pot of water on high, add a tablespoon of salt, wait for a roaring boil, and add your cavatelli.
Wait until they float, remove with a slotted spoon and add to your saute’ pan with sauce!
You can make these cavatelli ahead of time, place them on parchment paper on a ½ or ¼ size sheet tray and freeze for later use. Once they are frozen take them off the sheet tray and store in any container in the freezer to save on space!
Finish your sauce in the pan with just a little bit of butter (1/4 tsp), this is an old school chef’s trick that helps finish your dish and make it undeniably delicious!
Always use unsalted butter, this way you can taste your sauce and decide if you need to add salt! This is something you can use an adjust and use in all recipes, chef’s always use unsalted butter!
Get used to tasting what you cook!
1 (one) #10 can of imported tomatoes
1 cup chopped vidalia onion
2 (two) cloves of minced garlic
1 (one) bunch of picked basil (6-8 leaves)
1 (one) cup red wine
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1. In a large sauce pot add olive oil and heat on low to medium
2. Add onion and garlic, stir, and let brown
3. Add the remainder of ingredients, keep heat at low, let cook for 2 hours, stirring as to not burn the bottom of the pot!
4. Use a hand held blender to carefully blend the sauce; it's hot!
5. Your sauce is ready to go!
Make your sauce the day before, cool it and store in refrigerator.
Just like a soup letting your sauce sit overnight helps all the natural flavors to meld together and it makes your meal execution a little less stressful!
Balsamic Salad Dressing
¼ cup roasted garlic & shallots(3 cloves garlic, ½ shallot)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups olive oil
S&P to taste
1 tbsp whole grained Dijon mustard
1. In a small sauce pan add your olive oil and heat at medium. Then add your garlic and shallots and let cook until golden brown.
2. Carefully strain your roasted garlic and shallot from the oil, saving the oil in a heat resistant container to use for your dressing.
3. Using your hand held blender, combine all ingredients except oil in a tall container and blend thoroughly.
4. While the blender is running, slowly add oil to the dressing, the slower the better. This is called emulsification. If you do it correctly, your dressing will not break when stored in the refrigerator and will have a light a creamy texture!
Roasting the garlic and shallot in the oil helps extract the flavors into the oil.
This oil is great for cooking with as well, add a little extra oil when prepping for the recipe and save it for later use!
Be sure to refrigerate any infused oils when not using!
WIne Paring: Troublemaker Red Blend
Inspired by varieties that flourish in Paso Robles and California's Central Coast, Troublemaker is a truly distinct Paso blend consisting of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Syrah and Zinfandel. By using a multi-vintage approach, winemaker Austin Hope allows the wine to show uncanny complexity in its youth, yet rich and fruit-forward characteristics that make it ready upon release. With rich aromatics that display hints of smoke and violets, bright fruit on the palate and a long finish, Troublemaker shows amazing depth and structure.
This blend of 71% Syrah, 16% Grenache, 8% Zinfandel, 3% Petite Sirah and 2% Mourvèdre stands up to Paso blends three times its price. Broad aromas of plum, olallieberry, and dried cherry mix with vanilla, dill, and herbes de Provence on the nose. The creamy palate conveys boysenberry and blackberry seasoned by lavender and white pepper.
This GSM blend is a great option to use in your Pomodoro sauce and pairs perfectly with the dish! It’s a juicy and palate friendly wine!
Always decant your wine! This means opening your wine and pouring it into a clean glass container, then pouring it into your wine glass to drink! This allows the wine to oxidize and exposes all of those rich and fruity flavors!
Music to Listen to while cooking:
Frank Sinatra, whenever cooking Italian food!
Cooking is similar to dancing in that the music makes the dance. Good music makes good food!
Things you might want to need…
Heat Resistant Rubber Spatula
Hand Held Blender
½ sheet tray
Chef’s Knife- Two Options