I came home last night right after doing a hard workout and immediately plopped myself down on the floor. I do this sometimes. For some reason, the hard floor and industrial carpet in our house feel really good when I'm really tired after a hard workout. Last night, Man Candy started asking me about dinner while I was lying there. I told him to take care of it.
I don't give my husband enough credit, seriously. I do most of the cooking in the house, but that's mostly because I love to do it. Sometimes I forget that Ben watches me cook and is quite a good chef in his own right. Most of the time, he's my willing sous chef and kitchen paparazzi, but every once in a while when I just want to cave and order a pizza, he steps up and makes his own kitchen magic happen.
Now, last night's dinner wasn't pretty. But I am gonna give you a tiny little recipe to make super easy pasta happen. It's almost faster than store bought pasta, and several thousand times better. It also lets you mix things into the dough like we did, with beets from our CSA box.
Look at those puppies. I don't even like beets, but they're stunning. Local, organic, sweet red dirt. I usually use beets as a coloring agent rather than for flavor, so that's what I did last night.
Once I pried myself off the floor, I through together a quick pasta dough and made these little pasta dumplings that are called cavatelli. They are super easy to make and the shape makes them hold sauce really well.
So for all you saucy kids out there, this pasta shape is for you.
Pasta - cavatelli (with or without mix ins)
makes pasta for 4, give or take your appetite
- 2 cups flour (I usually do 50/50 semolina and all purpose)
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 Tsp salt
- Enough water to bind (probably 2 Tbsp or less)
- Some kind of mix in if you want, but make it chopped small and pretty dry. We put our beet through a spice grinder to puree it for the pasta
Mix all ingredients, adding water until you form a smooth, not too sticky dough. Add more water (less than 1 tsp at a time please!) if there are oatmealy dry bits. Add more flour if the dough sticks to the surface badly. Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.
Wrap the dough in plastic and rest in the fridge for a few minutes. Lets be honest, mine rested for approximately 5 minutes. I'm impatient.
At this point, you can form any pasta shape you like, but if you have a gnocchi board around (it's a wooden paddle with ridges down the face), you should try cavatelli!
Cut the dough into 8ths or so, and roll into thin logs (one piece at a time). Cut the log into small pieces. They should be about 1/2 inch long and wide. Any bigger and they end up being gigantic pasta that take forever to cook!
Toss the pieces in a little flour to keep from sticking to the board. One at a time, press the little dough square onto the gnocchi board, pushing it away from you. Lift up your thumb and roll it up lightly until it forms a little shell.
How about them blue nails? :)
Boil in batches in salted water. You'll have to boil for about 10 minutes, and then try. The center of these can take a few minutes to cook, so be a little patient. Clean the kitchen while you wait!
Hopefully, by the time they're done you'll have a sauce, and grate some romano cheese on top. Enjoy!
Note : beet pasta does look awful with red sauce. Just a note.