Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Homemade pasta to celebrate my half-birthday

Can you believe I've been 21 for six months already? I never thought I'd actually care about being 21, since I was never one of those teenagers that drank all the time and couldn't wait to hit the bars. In fact, my first taste of anything besides wine was on my 21st birthday. Since then, I've really enjoyed getting to try new things, like all the different kinds of wine, homemade strawberry daiquiris, and CIDER.

I always celebrate my half-birthday. I just love any reason to make a day special. :) So to celebrate, I decided to finally try my hand at homemade, whole wheat pasta. What a treat! I spent quite a while in the kitchen, but it turned out beautifully. And I took pictures!

I used my brother's pizza cutter to cut the dough into fettuccine-sized strips. :D

Isn't it precious?? Gosh, I feel so accomplished.

And of course, what celebration would be complete without my beloved Fox Barrel Pear Cider? I love this stuff. Its website describes it like so:
America’s first, truly pure pear-juice based cider line, Fox Barrel makes Pear Ciders that are naturally fermented using 100% pear juice, not from pear juice concentrate, or flavored hard apple cider. Our ciders are filtered cold for extra purity and our Blackberry Pear and Apricot Pear Ciders are infused with natural blackberry or apricot juice.  Fox Barrel contains no added colorants, sugar, sorbate or benzoate preservatives.  No added malt, spirit, grape or apple alcohols, Fox Barrel ciders are smoothed with pure pear juice.
 And this stuff is delicious. Almost as good as Bulmers Pear Cider in Ireland.

For my pasta, I made a homemade tomato sauce with meatballs. But wait! These aren't just any meatballs. Nope. They're vegetarian lentil "meat"balls! I used my leftover lentil patties from yesterday and reshaped them into balls. I added sage and fennel to give them a more sausage-like flavor. The tomato sauce is my own concoction that I always use--some combination of tomatoes (pureed with my immersion blender), olive oil, Italian seasoning, a touch of sugar, black pepper, and salt. Sends me to heaven every time. I haven't used pasta sauce from the jar for almost an entire year! Yay me.

So I knew that fresh pasta only took a minute or two to cook, but dang! I could have sworn they were only in for thirty seconds before they popped up to the top.

The finished product. The verdict = happy half-birthday to me!

The surprise of the meal was definitely the lentil "meatballs." No joke, these almost tasted like meat. I've tried making vegetarian meatballs before, and they were dreadful; the flavors clashed with the flavors of the tomato sauce, and the "meatballs" turned to mush almost as soon as I added the sauce to the pan. But these were just delightful. They stayed crispy on the outside, even after simmering with the sauce. Plus, the lentil pseudo-meatballs had such a neutral flavor that they just blended perfectly with the tomatoes. Heaven. Have I mentioned how much I love lentils?

As for the pasta? They could have been a little thinner, but they were still enjoyable. The entire dish was almost tear-inducing.

More, please? :)

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