My family is a big part of who I am in the kitchen. Their attitude towards food and cooking has definitely shaped the way I envision a perfect meal to be. A good summary would be something like creativity, passion, little meat, many vegetables and herbs/spices, a starchy component, and a nice amount of cheese.
My dad is experiencing a true revival in his love of cooking, so I often find myself cooking with him and my mom when I visit them during the weekend. This week, we decided to do a pasta dish once more since it was Sunday morning and my grandma is out on vacation so we wouldn´t be enjoying the traditional Sunday lunch at her place.
My dad had some leftover sirloin so he wanted to do a sauce around that and my mom and I were in charge of the pasta: tagliatelle (cut by hand because the pasta machine´s cutter wasn´t working properly, as can be seen in their varied lengths and sizes).
This is when the first discovery came in… well at least it was a discovery for me: basil flour. Let me explain. My mom wanted to use up some fresh basil she had, so I told her to process it with some flour to be able to really incorporate it into the dough. What we got was a lovely green flour which formed a homogeneous dough with a soft basil flavor. You could just add some chopped basil and that would be fine, but this way, the basil gets more evenly distributed and so does the flavor. Plus, it takes literally 10 seconds pressing a button.
Unfortunately, you can´t really appreciate the green hue in this photo though.
The recipe is the basic pasta dough recipe: 1 egg for every 100 grams of 0000 flour (here we have 000, 0000 and self-rising flour… I´m sure some people would use a bit of semolina as well to give it more of a bite, I like pasta a bit softer), some salt and a bit of olive oil (in this case, with a bunch of basil processed with the dough). You knead the dough for a few minutes, make a ball, let it rest for a while and roll it out using a pasta roller of by hand. You then cut the pasta in whichever shape suits your fancy and let it dry out for a little while.
Don´t ask me what this little instrument is called because I have no idea what its name might be even in Spanish… let alone in English.
As for the second discovery, my younger brother was the one who made it. He doesn´t like noodles (not even homemade ones… I know, it´s a big stain in our family history, but we´ve learned to live with it), so he was heating up some oil to fry some chicken milanesas (breaded chicken). My mom had some leftover scraps of pasta she was going to boil after finishing the tagliatelle. My brother used a piece of pasta to test the oil´s temperature and thought of frying a piece to see how it turned out. End result: delicious Italian nachos!!!
They were crispy and delicious and I figured they would work perfectly within the tagliatelle dish so I used it as a garnish for the pasta and it was wonderful (not to mention pretty): apparently a bit of crunch in the plate was perfect to take it to the next level.
So today´s lesson, let your creativity fly as much as possible. Yes, sometimes you will mess up and hate yourself for it, but sometimes, you´ll end up with green flour and a delicious pasta with crunch to boot!