I am going to lay something right down flat in the center of the table. I was a little dubious about this one... I didn't doubt the recipe. I doubted me.
Memories of sitting at the dinner table as a little girl arguing with my parents about not liking something that I never tried before... Being told to take a "bite" and I might find that I really liked it.
Like my younger strange-food-rejecting self, I was kind of scared. I really didn't know how dried fruit, nuts & pasta were all going to work together. I was even more scared about how The Peeps were going to react.
But trying new things and pushing past my normal "flavor palette" is exactly the reason I signed up for FFwD. I knew that I needed to get out of my comfort zone & figure out a way to have fun with this one in spite of me.
The nuttiness of the nuts (yeah, I just said that, didn't I?) and the sweetness of the fruit seemed to beg for a change out from the standard plain 'ole "fresh out of a box" semolina pasta. I started thinking soba noodles... but I tend to like something with a little more heft to catch all the bits & pieces.
But once I got the soba noodle train stuck in my head, I couldn't get my mind off of a buckwheat pasta (which I love). I had a yen for fresh pasta anyway - and here was the perfect excuse... Because there is nothing quite like fresh pasta. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. (Well, maybe a fresh loaf of bread - but that's about it!)
Anyhoo... Having found my "fun place", I was able to relax and felt better about things. Seriously, how can you not have fun rolling noodles through the rollers and watching the machine cut them into even, pretty little rows? Sometimes, I make pasta just so that I can play around with it. Weird, I know - but if you put it all into perspective, at least I don't eat glue. Or dirt. Or stick chicken feathers in my hair. Because that would be really weird.
Before going any further I am going to admit to my other major substitution in this dish. I know the brown blobs below are not figs. They're Medjool dates. It was that or the little fig-niblets crammed into a plastic bag inside a "Sunmaid" box. Going with the figlet-niblets just didn't seem cool. I also opted for the golden raisins because the black ones kind of freak me out. (Ever since I was knee high to a grasshopper, I would pick out those little black raisin thingies from all of my food. Today, I can
force bring myself to tolerate them in social situations if I HAVE TO; but in my house... no thank you Sally - by special request only).
Yes, I know I have gone off track again... At some point, I put The Dude in charge of cooking the noodles (which still required my constant attention...) and prepared the "pasta toss". As I pressed forward, my faith started to bubble up like the now browning butter. I was mesmerized by the
fattening plumping of the golden raisins as they soaked up all that buttery goodness (kind of like my butt was going to after eating it).
As I finished up the dish, I was feeling somewhat better. The Dude seemed to be on board (no easy feat) and The Runner Girl was nosing around. The Karate Kid said that it looked interesting and pulled out a package of ramen (I really don't get her infatuations with ramen; it totally boggles my mind. But that's for another post on another day...)
The moment of truth had finally arrived. Was I going to take my "thank you bite" and move on or would this dish have me beggin' for more???
Well, it kind of went like this. The "thank you bite" turned into second helpings. By all. (Well, all except for the ramen eater). The back-up chicken was only minimally touched (Yes, Bob - I was so nervous, I cooked a back-up dinner...).
I was relieved. I was ecstatic. I was grateful! I was kicking myself. For not having faith that it would all work out. The Dude commented that you would pay $20+ a plate to eat something like this in a restaurant. I told The Dude thank you very much and that I would take his $20 any time any time he wanted to eat this at my "restaurant"... Begging optional.
2 cups All Purpose or Bread Flour (I prefer bread flour, but AP also works nicely)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
Pinch salt (optional)
3 Tbs olive oil
1-2 Tbs cold water as needed
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the flours and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the center of the flours and add the eggs & olive oil. Mix until dough comes together (dough should hold together - if needed, add cold water, 1 tsp at a time until dough holds together, but don't go too heavy on the water - no one wants gummy dough!). At this point, I like to knead it by hand for a few turns (usually do this right in the bowl of the mixer so that I don't have to dirty my counter).
Shape dough into disk and wrap in plastic. I like to refrigerate for a while and about a half hour before rolling and shaping, I let it sit out at room temperature. If you don't have time to refrigerate, just wrap it and let it rest for about a half hour.
Unwrap the dough and cut it into ~6 pieces. Using a lightly floured surface, roll the pieces thin enough to go through the thickest setting on the pasta roller. Run it through the thickest setting a few times until the dough is smooth and elastic and holds together. Once you have reached this point, you may go to a thinner setting until you have reached your desired width.
I rolled this pasta to the "2" thickness setting on my pasta roller. And finished it off with the fettuccine width cutter
Cook in a pot of salted boiling water (use a little restraint when adding - i.e. don't add all at once). Cook 5-6 minutes if pasta was left thicker. Thinner pasta will require less cooking time - cook to "al dente" stage. Drain well & sauce up!
This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie. Come check out what everyone else has been up to!