Two recipes for the price of one this week: homemade spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce, and homemade fusilli with squid and prawn sauce. Spaghetti and fusilli are two types of pasta which you wouldn’t normally associate with homemade pasta, but thanks to my fabulous new KitchenAid attachment, I can make those, macaroni and rigatoni as well!
Andrew does tend to have a theme running through the gifts he buys for me, and for Christmas the theme was resoundingly Italian. As well as the KitchenAid attachment, he also bought me a ravioli press, a tool to make authentic ridges on gnocchi, and a beautiful Italian cookbook with authentic pasta recipes, by Australian-Italian chef, Nino Zoccali.
So I couldn’t wait to get started using the pasta machine, which screws onto the end of the KitchenAid and therefore uses the motor to squeeze the dough through whatever pasta shape hole you want to use. I started off making spaghetti for dinner that evening, and used the remaining 2/3 of the dough to make fusilli.
For the pasta dough, I made a basic egg pasta dough with 00 flour, semolina and eggs. 400g of flour / semolina and 4 eggs was enough to make six decent portions of pasta, and the fusilli dried overnight so that I could store it in an airtight container to eat another time.
I wanted to make a very basic tomato sauce for the spaghetti, as I really wanted the pasta to be the main focus of the meal. Italians swear by the quality of the tomatoes being 100% necessary to make the perfect pasta sauce, and let’s face it – I was never going to find a high quality sun-ripened tomato in the UK in January. So I quartered some supermarket tomatoes and drizzled them with olive oil and lazy garlic, salt and pepper, and roasted them in a 180 degree oven for 10 minutes to bring out their natural sweetness.
Once cooled, pureed and cooked with a little basil, then tossed with the freshly cooked spaghetti and sprinkled with parmesan, we had a simple, delicious, healthy and very filling meal, which I will definitely be making again. You are supposed to peel and deseed the tomatoes but as you may expect, I couldn’t be bothered with all that faff and frankly I didn’t think it was an issue to have the seeds in the sauce – the skin had disappeared during the blitzing process.
For the dried fusilli, I wanted to make something a bit more adventurous from my new cookbook. My mum was visiting last week and as I already had squid and prawns from the fishmonger in the freezer, I decided to make the strozzapreti con gamberi from my book, but with the fusilli replacing the strozzapreti.
The dish needs to be made in two stages, and so as mum would be visiting after work, I made the first half the night before she was coming over. The recipe calls for minced squid to be cooked for at least one hour with leek, white wine and passata, and seasoned with fish sauce. I couldn’t be bothered to mince the squid and so just chopped it, but I don’t think it mattered, and the first stage of the recipe looked and smelt delicious when I had made it.
On the night we ate the dish, the prawns had to be cooked with garlic and chilli and then they, the squid mixture and the cooked pasta needed to be mixed together and served.
The dish was fabulous as it had the richness and intense flavour of a restaurant quality dish – however, it is a very ‘fishy’ dish, so if you don’t like the strong flavour of fish, you might not be too keen. I served the pasta with a sliced baguette.
325g 00 flour, 75g semolina, 4 eggs
Combine all the ingredients and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth. I did this in my KitchenAid using the dough attachment as it makes life easy! Allow to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then the pasta can be rolled or shaped according to what you plan to cook. Don’t be deceived – this pasta is very substantial, and even someone greedy like me can only manage 1/6 of the pasta with sauce, so don’t dish up too much!
6 tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil, a teaspoon of lazy garlic, salt and pepper, basil leaves
Quarter the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and gently roast in the oven for 10 minutes at 180 degrees until they start to soften. Blitz to a pulp in the food processor, and then heat in a saucepan while you cook the pasta in boiling, salted water. Tear in some basil leaves and check for seasoning. Drain the pasta, reserving some of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the sauce along with some of the cooking liquid to bring the sauce together with the pasta. Sprinkle with plenty of parmesan cheese and black pepper and serve. Bellisima!
1 squid, 1 small diced leek, a drizzle of olive oil, 1.5 glasses of white wine, 500ml passata, fish sauce, 20 prawns, 1 finely sliced red chilli, 1 tsp lazy garlic, 20 pitted black olives, chopped parsley
Chop the squid as small as you can and sautee in a pan with the leek and olive oil until lightly caramelised. Add 1 glass of wine to deglaze the pan, and cook until the liquid has almost completely disappeared. Add the passata and bring to the boil, then turn down to a low simmer. Add enough fish sauce to season the sauce – I used around 2 teaspoons of fish sauce but do it according to taste. You need to cook the sauce for one hour, but stir it very frequently as otherwise it starts to catch at the bottom of the pan. Once cooked, set aside, while you prepare the prawns and cook your pasta.
Sautee the prawns with olive oil, garlic and chilli until just cooked, then add the rest of the wine and reduce immediately. Add the cooked prawns to the squid and tomato mixture and add the olives and parsley. Add more fish sauce for seasoning if necessary, plus pepper.
Stir in the pasta and serve with delicious fresh bread.