Friday, January 14, 2011

Dark Days Challenge: Week 6

It was kind of a no-brainer. We love pasta; the simplest recipe involves just flour and eggs, both of which we have from local sources. So, an Imperia pasta machine arrived in the mail this week. Thanks to all the Dark Days Challenge participants who responded to my query about types and hints. We went with the Imperia because it's the brand carried by one of favorite Canadian kitchen supply stores, Golda's Kitchen. They've got lots of different attachments but we went with the basic machine, which will make spaghetti and lasagna and we added the ravioli maker.

There is, I must say, a bit of a learning curve. We managed to jam up the machine trying to get lasagna out! Apparently, on further research after the fact, our dough was still too wet, we hadn't passed it through the sheet maker enough while adding a little extra flour. You can't see it in the finished picture because of the sauce, but our lasagna was a little crimped, some pieces were very short and some pieces were stuck in lumps. We need a better way to dry the finished product - we were trying to drape it over over turned mixing bowls. Our first batch was made with our local, organic, all-purpose unbleached flour because that is what we had. Since then, I went on a little pantry-restocking foray to Two Farm Kids and did find some local Durum Semolina.

We didn't make tomato sauce this summer but we did have, in the freezer, some homemade Hubbard Squash/Apple/Bacon soup, which had thickened up in the pot while we ate. We thought it would make a good pasta sauce - and we were right! We didn't do anything to it except de-frost and then warm it up. We topped it with some more home-grown bacon. It was yummy!! We will certainly do more squash pasta sauces! The original recipe for Hubbard Squash soup is here. And this coming summer, I will certainly try canning tomato sauce for the first time. Wish me luck!

Also, on the dinner table this week - our comfort food for snowy weather: meatloaf. We used our homegrown ground pork and mixed it with some awesome bison from Crocusview Farms. We got our pork as 'regular' not lean, and it is rather fatty. Mixing it with an equal amount of the drier bison was perfect. To keep it local, we topped it with our homegrown bacon, instead of the usual ketchup/mustard mix. I always thought topping meatloaf with bacon was a bit of meat overload, but now I get it. It added great flavor to the dish. We served it with a simple one dish roast of homegrown potatoes, Australian blue pumpkin, parsnips from our market buddy Hugh and our own carrots and onions.


  1. Long pasta is usually hung over a rack to dry - hanging down like hair. Works pretty well for spaghetti and linguine. And yes, you need to pass it through several times to get it thin and even. If you're working down the thickness settings, you need to pass it through a few times on each setting. You'll get the hang of it!

  2. Never thought about ordering the pasta dryer, at the time so we were certainly adlibing by draping it over upturned mixing bowls. Most of the reading we did afterwards said to dust with a little flour after each pass through the sheet maker. We'll give it another shot, no question, because even though it wasn't pretty it was tasty!

  3. I've not tried this, but I've read that hanging it over the horizontal bar of clean clothes hangers is an inexpensive way to dry pasta too! I'm also new to pasta making ( and am loving my machine! My first attempts went pretty well, but I used a good bit of flour (like you, I used all-purpose unbleached and before cooking shook off any excess by flipping the pasta a couple times in a strainer).

    It sure sounds like you have done a lot of work putting food up in to make these Dark Days meals a little easier. I look forward to reading more about your meals!

  4. Thanks, Wendy, for the hot tip about a hanger! That can just be hung from one of the door knobs! I have some nice, big, fat plastic ones!