Homemade Pasta: Take 2

A few weeks ago, the lovely Julia Child would have celebrated her 100th birthday. In honor of the occasion, I decided to make a big dinner for Matt and myself, something I don’t do nearly as much as I’d like. The obvious choice would be to go French themed, and use Mastering the Art of French Cooking for the recipes. But to be honest, I feel like I have the french thing down. I’ve made a bunch of the recipes from that book, and even de-boned a duck! Julia was all about challenging yourself. So in that spirit, I chose to make homemade pasta. I tried this once before and had a rough time. The dough was too dry and the finished product was gummy and thick.

For the pasta, I went with Julia Child’s noodle recipe. It’s super simple. Just dump the ingredients in a food processor, then lightly knead on a floured surface. The dough was very easy to work with and didn’t stick to everything like my last attempt. I fed this through my pasta machine a few times, starting with a thicker setting and decreasing each time til it was just right. After the dough was prepared, I put it in an air-tight container and started on the filling.

I wanted to make a pretty flavorful sauce for the ravioli, so I went with a basic ricotta filling for the pasta. I put the filling into a pastry bag to make it a little easier to work with. After one failed batch that involved me forgetting to flour the ravioli press, forming the ravioli was pretty simple. After they were ready to go, I set them out to dry a bit while I worked on the sauce. The pancetta mushroom sauce complemented the ravioli perfectly. I served them with asparagus, since that’s Matt’s favorite vegetable. And then we ended the meal with a very decadent dessert, which I will post about later.

Recipes are all posted below for your enjoyment. As Julia would say, bon appetit!

Julia Child’s Noodle Recipe

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2-4 tbsp cold water

Add all ingredients to your food processor, starting with 2 tablespoons of water, and process at high speed. In about a minute, the dough should form itself into a ball on top of the blade, if you have the correct amount of water.  If your dough is not forming, add more water until this happens. Move dough to floured workstation and knead lightly until dough is easy to work with. Let the dough rest at least 15 minutes before using. Keep covered.

Ricotta Ravioli Filling

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup taleggio cheese (diced)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Combine cheeses with parsley and salt in large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs. Add eggs to cheese mixture and stir until combined.

Pancetta Mushroom Sauce:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pancetta (diced)
  • 3 cloves garlic (smashed)
  • 3 cups mushrooms of your choice, sliced (shiitake, oyster, cremini)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Coat the bottom of a heavy pan with olive oil. Add pancetta and garlic on medium-high heat. When the garlic is light brown and fragrant, remove from pan. Add the mushrooms and salt, and saute until mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and cook until reduced by half. Add the butter and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly.

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