March 24 2023
I’m not sure if this is a phase or a long-term change, but I enjoy making food from scratch at the moment. Perhaps I’ll find a balance between homemade and premade foods. Some things are significantly better homemade, while some store-bought foods are hard to replace.
After sitting at a corner of my counter for a couple of years, my Philips Pasta Maker is getting much more love these days. I got this machine as a Mother’s day gift during covid. When my youngest started solids, my attention shifted to making baby/toddler foods, and the pasta maker just sat there, making me wonder if it was worth the real estate it was taking up.
I started experimenting with the pasta maker a few weeks ago, and the first few tries were a whole lot of mess for ugly-looking noodles. This pasta machine is more challenging to use than adding flour and water. I learned that a specific flour mix produces luscious noodles, and mixing the ingredients before dumping them into the machine worked better. I’m still working on the perfect recipe, but I’m hopeful enough to add a spot in my pantry for semolina flour.
I’ve tried adding different veggies and herbs to tomato sauce, but my kids prefer Marcella Hazen’s super simple sauce with just tomatoes, onion, and butter. Today I used a (28 oz) can of whole tomatoes, but I’ve made this sauce with Rao’s marinara sauce before. Using Rao’s as the base makes the sauce even yummier but also makes it more expensive, depending on what kind of canned tomatoes I’m using. I’m not convinced it’s worth splurging on San Marzano tomatoes for pasta sauce yet. At that price point, I can grab a jar of Rao’s instead.
I warmed up turkey and pork meatballs from the freezer in the sauce. It takes a bit of time, about 10 minutes, to warm up frozen meatballs with this method, but it makes juicy, flavorful meatballs. The sauce also gets richer with the meat juice from the meatballs.
Once the pasta is cooked and drained, I add a cup of sauce to the pot with the pasta. Then I gently toss while cooking for an additional minute or two, so the sauce gets absorbed into the pasta. I can thin the sauce out with pasta cooking water if it is too thick. (I learned to always save a cup of pasta cooking water before draining.)
Then we top the pasta with more sauce and meatballs. Grate some parmesan cheese on top, which I forgot to shoot. Open a bottle of wine. And this is what makes my heart happy on a Friday night.
Also, check out a short video of making this meal.