Sunday, April 20, 2008

Fresh Homemade Pasta - Part 2

So have any of you tried to make your own fresh pasta yet? Would love to hear how it went or any improvisation suggestion you have!

Anyways, back to the tagliatelle in the previous post ... I wanted something simple, not a over powering sauce since the pasta is the main star of the dish, hence opted for something light and simple, in hope to bring the best of the tagliatelle :)

I decided on Tagliatelle with Cod and Spicy Parsley Sauce. Perhaps something of a random unheard sauce, but it's a combination of my favorite spices - shouldn't go wrong with lots of garlic, parsley, some sliced cod and chili flakes. Here are the prepared ingredients for two:

Cod (2 fillets, sliced in huge chunks)
Parsley (or Coriander will do, finely chopped without the stalks)
1 whole bulb of garlic (or even more if you wish, minced)
Olive oil (abt 3-4 tbsp)
Salt (to taste)
Black Pepper
White wine vinegar
White wine (optional)
Chili flakes (or freshly chopped chilies)
Parmesan cheese

First, heat up a few tablespoon of olive oil for a minute or so. Then add in the garlic and stir fry quickly to avoid overcooking them. As I was lazy and short for time AND hungry (due to all the kneading work with the dough previously), I just added the cod pieces in together to fry, knowing that the fish flakes easily and probably the result will be some sort of mush. My attempt of trying hard not to flip the fish too much isn't effective either, but ah well, stomach rules when it growls :P

Ideally, I intended to grill or pan fry to WHOLE cod fillet before hand and sliced them once they are crisp with the skin. The way to do this is to leave the whole cod fillet as a whole, heat up your grill or pan with a little oil. If you choose to grill, it's best to oil the fish skin a little bit as well so it doesn't stick to the grill pan and make a mess of the beautiful fish skin. 3-4 minutes on each side on medium to high heat should be fine.

For pan fry purposes, you can also pat a little bit of flour on the skin part of the fish to get a nice crispy effect. Put the skin side down on the heated pan with some oil, and let it fry for about 3 minutes before you turn the other side for another 2 minutes or so. Set the fish aside once grilled or pan fried.

Ok, back to my mush :) I added parsley towards the end, with some salt and chili flakes to taste. One important addition is also a bit of white wine vinegar (just a few drops or roughly 1 tbsp would do), somehow I find it adds a little sharpness to the sauce to make it a lil' more exciting than just chili flakes alone. A dash of white wine is always welcomed in this kind of sauce too.

Meanwhile, don't forget to cook the pasta, and if you followed the fresh pasta recipe in the previous post, it'd probably take about 2 minutes in boiling water to cook it. Then, drain it quickly and add to the cod mixture and give it a good toss to coat the pasta.

When its thoroughly mixed, do take a pinch to taste and see if the flavor is fine, or else adjust accordingly. Finally, serve on a nice plate/bowl, garnish with some Parmesan cheese and chili flakes and tuck in!

Phew, after all that ordeal, I'd say it was an interesting experience and nothing beats eating something homemade from scratch :) My pasta definitely still has some way to go in terms of improvement, especially in terms of texture (a bit dry) and thickness (not thin enough, probably about 2mm, as you can see in the pic above). Taste wise was not bad, sauce was not over powering, but there's definitely a difference to the dried pasta, which is usually harder with more 'bite'. Fresh ones are soft, chewy yet retains its al-dente texture giving the best of both worlds. Doing it again? Definitely, despite the tired arms! Gonna try linguine or something more funky like ravioli next time, with a different sauce. Need to be a bit more creative here, no Bolognese , Carbonara or any other sort of sauce that has a bottled version of it hehe. Still inspired by my Da Mario trip, and one day my pasta will get roughly comparable to theirs ...

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