2011/03/10

Uncharted Waters (Beggar's Linguini, but with Buckwheat Fettuccine!)

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.

Buckwheat Pasta 
2 cups All Purpose or Bread Flour (I prefer bread flour, but AP also works nicely)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
Pinch salt (optional)
2 eggs
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!

42 comments:

  1. I'm impressed you made your own noodles! Your dish looks great!

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  2. You made your own pasta, too?! How wonderful! I was a bit surprised how much I liked this one, too...good to be pushed out of our comfort zones, I guess :) Your dish turned out so well!!!!

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  3. I think you are right that the buckwheat pasta would help anchor this dish. I'm still wondering why I have never seen "fig niblets"?

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  4. Your pasta sounds delicious! The dates are a good idea. Loved this recipe.

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  5. Thank you for the tip on the sugar! I will definitely take a look and see if I can stock up. It just isn't the same without those little white nuggest of sugar.

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  6. Oh wow! You made your own pasta! They look wonderful. I love buckwheat flour. I've only used it to make crepes though.

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  7. LOL about the back-up dinner! I made this for myself for lunch, but I had a back-up lunch, just in case. Great job on the buckwheat linguine!

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  8. I love that you made your own pasta! Fresh homemade noodles cannot be beat!

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  9. I'm impressed that you made your own pasta! Glad everyone loved it…I thought it was wonderful, too! Husband not so much!

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  10. My Dad kept saying this would be great with dates instead of figs! So glad it worked out. And kudos to you for making your own pasta!

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  11. This one was pretty amazing wasn't it?

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  12. Your pasta looks amazing! The buckwheat noodles kind of remind me of the heartier crepes I've had in France. I had to laugh at the comment of our butts soaking up that buttery goodness. Happy Friday!

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  13. Your homemade pasta looks incredible! Lovely photos, as always!

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  14. Yum! I bet the buckwheat pasta was perfect in this dish! Your pictures look delicious! :)

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  15. Very nice with homemade noodles, wow, good work! Didn't the fruits and nuts bubbling in that brown butter smell luscious? I liked this pasta dish and would make it again;-)

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  16. Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog today! I am loving your post! I used to do FFwD but work has taken so much time. Actually the recipe I posted today came out me checking out the FFwD website yesterday and seeing the assigned recipe. Mine is a variation on that. Also, I am trying to shiny new pasta machine tomorrow for the first time. Yikes! I am excited but a bit nervous. Hopefully the results will not be disastrous. Also, I host a food club on Sundays and would love it if you could join us at Sundays @ One Food Club. Happy cooking!

    Angie
    Cocina Diary

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  17. I love dates at least as much as I love figs and I am sure it was amazing. I would pay $20 for this - where shall I send it?
    Great post.

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  18. You made your own buckwheat pasta. That's awesome!!! I prefer golden raisins too. Won't eat the other kind.

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  19. Great post! I too would have made a back-up dinner if I had made this. :) Your pasta looks fantastic!

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  20. Homemade buckwheat pasta? you ROCK! I love soba and wish I could eat it more often. I bet this recipe was double delicious with those noodles :)

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  21. Thanks for sharing the buckwheat pasta recipe - it sounds delicious! I'm glad everyone (except the ramen eater) like it!

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  22. Home made noodles, and buckwheat at that! Wow. Well done.

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  23. WOW! Homemade noodles! Good for you!! Enjoyed your post!

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  24. I noticed the bubbling and boiling in butter stage seemed to win most of us over! You made your own noodles! I am sooo impressed! Looks great!

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  25. I love ramen actually. Or at least I did in my twenties. Now I love this kind of pasta. It reminds me of a hiking meal actually, dried fruits, nuts and pasta, but in a much more lofty way. Makes sense since beggars/mendiants walk all over creation. Great photos and story.

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  26. lol on the backup chicken...that is too funny! The buckwheat noodles look interesting, would definitely give this another dimension in flavoring, etc. Happy to hear you liked it...I was dubious as well, not that I wouldn't like all the ingredients because I do, but because I just didn't see how that was going to translate into one knockout dish. I have got to learn not to doubt Dorie!! Wonderful job on this one...buckwheat...hmmmm...might have to give that a try and cook a backup chicken just in case!

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  27. What a great idea to make fresh buckwheat noodles and sub dates in your dish. I am sure it was only enhanced with your substitutions. Cute post, Cher!

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  28. I love that you made your own pasta for this one - so so impressive! I, too, thought that I might have to use dates but then found figs at the last minute. I do like the idea of the dates though and might try that in my dessert version...

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  29. I'm so impressed that you made your own pasta! That's one of my goals for this year. I used dates too because I couldn't find figs. I added some extra salt and cheese to balance the sweetness. Glad to hear you got some great compliments on this one!

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  30. Okay, now I want buckwheat pasta, too. Awesome idea--really! I laughed at the back-up dinner! I am sorry to say, my hubby would have paid me twenty dollars to NOT make this. Sigh.

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  31. Your noodles are impressive. The bubbling butter was a lovely sight, wasn't it?

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  32. That's so funny, Cher! The reason we made the pasta as a side dish was because we were afraid we wouldn't like it and wanted to make sure we's have something to eat. LOL! Yours looks incredible and the homemade pasta must have taken it right over the top!

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  33. Oh wow, homemade pasta! I bet that was so much better with this dish than the plain old box kind!! It looks wonderful! Great idea on the dates. I love dates so I will have to try that next time. I got a good laugh from the "figlet niblets." Sunmaid should call them that!

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  34. I want a pasta maker! Seems like it'd be similar to playing with play doh, but with a better tasting end product.:) Love that you call your husband the Dude. As in The Big Lebowski? One of my all time favorites.

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  35. WOW...so impressed that you made the noodles. I should get into action and do that too! I have a daughter who bugs my to make pasta, but I never seem to have time, but I always have time to bake cookies. You have inspired me.

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  36. Homemade noodles- wow! This looks great, thanks for sharing!

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  37. That is awesome you made your own pasta! I too liked how the dish is not the normal fare for me, but that it ended up being pretty good!

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  38. So cool that you made your own pasta! Even cooler that you took more than a "thank you" bite. I'm glad the family enjoyed it too. I've got to say, I'm laughing at cooking the back up dinner...at my house...if the main event fails...too bad...you gotta eat it anyway!

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  39. Wow - I'm impressed - you were skeptical but you not only made it, you made your own pasta. You are a better club member than I am!!! Very cool. And I'm glad you enjoyed it. My whole family loved it and finished every last bite in the serving bowl. Added pancetta - awesome.

    Thanks for popping by my blog.

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  40. As I just made pappardelle the other day without pasta machine, rolling my dough on a tiny counter top, the only thing I can say it that great minds think and eat alike:)
    I skipped this dish because I knew that I would be the only one eating it and I was not as industrious as you to prepare another dinner:)
    You entertained me, as usual. I love visiting your family:)
    Your buckwheat pasta? I want to make it right now, and it's midnight!

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  41. I love your writting style. You tell a great story. Everyone seemed to have second thoughts about this recipe, but in the end everyone loved it. Nice to meet you Cher.

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  42. Soba noodles! I should have thought of that. I think it would have worked much better than the rice pasta that I used. I love that you made your own noodles for this dish!

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