AN ITALIAN FEAST
Updated: Dec 21, 2019
Along with great wine, goes great food... so naturally, we both enjoy cooking (and eating!). One of our great pleasures in life has been learning to make our own pasta, in all its variations. It had always been an ambition of Simon's to learn this mystic art, but when he received a pasta roller as a Christmas gift, he discovered that it was relatively easy, and amazingly satisfying.
As we are packing up, winding down, and finishing things at work, finding a night when we are both home together has been a luxury - cooking together helps us to reconnect. Carving out a few hours to dedicate to food (and wine) helps us feel grounded amidst all of this chaos.
My go-to pasta recipe is 100g of flour (tipo 00) and one large egg, multiplied by the number of servings - easy! I find something very relaxing about taking simple ingredients, flour and eggs, and combing them into a completely different product...pasta dough. Being hands on with the pasta dough, always makes me think that this is the adult version of Play-Doh! This feeling of adult play-time is especially apparent when making spaghetti. I love making the pasta as fine as possible, rolling it out to the finest thickness possible, before putting it through the spaghetti cutter. It took a long time to perfect this fine angel hair noodle, and it has been so worth it!
For the meatballs, we used a mix of Beyond Meat burgers, and panko crumbs, wrapped around cubes of Port Salut cheese to give a great surprise in the middle! (We froze the port salut before cutting, to make it easier to work with).
The sauce was a simple affair of leek, garlic, Italian herbs, mushrooms, celery and passata. The secret here is cooking it low and slow for a long time, so all the flavours can meld. I tend to start the sauce first, and leave it simmering whilst I make the pasta dough, and other components of the meal. A splash of balsamic vinegar and vegan Worcester sauce is another thing that adds more layers to the sauce.
Whilst cooking we always try the wine, so that we can adjust the seasoning of the food,to compliment the wine. Within the first sips, we noticed that the sauce was really elevating the fabulous Elio Filippino San Cristoforo (Barbaresco) 2013 we had opened.
Its moments like this that help me find calm with everything going on. Taking the time to prepare and cook a meal, to be enjoyed with exquisite wine with great company is what life is all about. The rest just melts away.
PS. We are still using boxes as tables.