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Homemade Pasta and Tomato Sauce

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Tommy was yet again in town visiting this past weekend.  Per usual, we had a great weekend of culinary eats including a trip to Little Market Brasserie, brunch at Kanela Breakfast Club and a birthday celebration at Sunda for Ben’s (my brother-in-law) birthday.

As you will recall, Tommy and I had a negative experience last time we went to Little Market Brasserie. While the food and drinks were good, the service was really terrible. Well, they offered to buy us dinner if we agreed to give them another chance.  I am happy we did because this time around the service was really great (although I am sure it had to be given they knew what a negative experience we had), the food was tasty and the drinks were inventive and delicious!

Kanela is a new breakfast/brunch restaurant located in Old Town and I really enjoyed my meal there.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take any picture because my camera was out of batteries, but I will absolutely be back, so I will review at a later date.  If you go there before I get the chance to update the blog, check out the French Toast Flight and the Duck Confit Hash.  Both were great.

Finally, because Ben’s birthday celebration included 12 of us at dinner, I didn’t think it was the right time to whip out the camera.  Instead I sat back and enjoyed lots of tasty food without the compulsive need to document everything!

While its nice to take a break from picture taking, I was more than ready to get back into the kitchen and photograph the dinner Tommy and I made on Sunday night.  To start, we made a pesto dip (2 cups densely packed basil, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup asiago cheese, salt + pepper all mixed together in a food processor) inspired by our favorite at Sweet Basil, and served it with some French bread slices.

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After that, we made our own pasta using the KitchenAid Pasta Extruder attachment.

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Tommy gave me this attachment a couple of years ago, and I am a bit ashamed I don’t use it more often.  It makes pasta making so easy and I absolutely love eating fresh pasta.  We literally followed the instructions in the KitchenAid cookbook (that comes with the extruder) which had us combine eggs, water, flour and salt, mix everything together, and then push the pasta dough through the extruder.  The particular extruder I have allows you to make rigatoni, bucatini, fusili, macaroni and spaghetti.

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Of course, if you don’t have access to a fresh pasta maker, the boxed dried stuff and the fresh refrigerator stuff works great too.  To go with the pasta, I made a quick and easy tomato sauce.

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I typically have homemade tomato sauce always available in my freezer, but because I was out, I whipped up a slight variation to my normal sauce.  I used carrots to sweeten the sauce a bit (usually I add some sugar) and I really liked the end result.  Finally, I topped my pasta with a big pile of fresh mozzarella that got really creamy and stringy!  Overall, a perfect end to a great weekend!

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Rigatoni Pasta with Homemade Tomato Sauce – Serves  4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fresh or dry rigatoni
  • 3 TB EVOO
  • 1.5 cups diced onion
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 TB)
  • 2 28 ounce cans of whole tomatoes (San Marzanos are the best)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 TB tomato paste
  • 1 TB oregano
  • 2 TB fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried basil)
  • S+P to taste
  • 2 8 ounce balls of fresh mozzarella

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Season with salt and cook pasta per cooking directions.

To make the sauce, add 3 TB of olive oil to a large pot over medium high heat.  When the oil is hot, add the carrot and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often.  Add the onion and lower the heat to medium.  Cooking everything together, stirring often, for another 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent but not burnt.  Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, oregano, basil and salt and pepper.  Cook everything together for 20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced a bit and the tomatoes have broken down (I help this by breaking them apart with a wooden spoon while the cook).  Taste and adjust for seasoning.  If you prefer a sauce with more texture, the sauce at this point is ready.  If you like a smooth sauce (like Tommy prefers), blend the sauce until you reach the desired consistency with an immersion or traditional blender.

Mix sauce and pasta together (I actually had too much sauce for the pasta, so I have some extra for the freezer).  Top each bowl with fresh mozzarella and serve immediately.

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3 Responses to Homemade Pasta and Tomato Sauce

  1. Looks so good gf! I love me some fresh pasta.

    • I’ve actually made Sarah and Ben some fresh pasta using that machine so it has gotten more use than you think! It was always when you were out of town so Sarah and I had to fend for ourselves.

  2. [...] of this dish a bit is the addition of fresh basil or a spoonful of pesto.  I just happened to have freshly made pesto on hand from the other night, so I used that, and it tasted [...]

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