Things honestly clould not have been worse in my kitchen yesterday.
It started off with two, not one, but two trips to the grocery store to buy eggs and flour. I actually wrote a note with just eggs and flour on it and took it with me. Then I came home with eggs and a of other things. So back to the store for flour.
I then started off by sauteeing the zucchini mixture, which went well. Then on to the cheese. I was making a very simple ricotta (from scratch) but I could not get the curds and whey to separate, I tried adding double the amount of citric acid, then I said what the heck and decided to squeeze lemon juice into it. The lemon half popped out of my hand and landed in the pot of very hot milk splashing all over me, and it still didn't curdle! Then I pulled out my rice vinegar and added a splash of that and I still never got what I was hoping for but I did get a cheese like product that was not bad but quite acidic.
Time to turn to the pasta, I have never made pasta by hand before.
I created a large pile of flour made a well and added the eggs, it was beautiful at this point. I took a fork and gently stirred the eggs and started to slowly incorporate the flour. All good so far, then the dam broke! the eggs escaped out a hole they dug in the back of the pile and took off. If it wasn't for the warped cutting board I was using I would have lost them all over the counter. (I warped my nice wooden cutting board a couple months ago when I decided to use it as a lid on a pan I was simmering.
I finally got the dough together and kneaded it for the full 10 minutes, I then set it aside (wrapped) to rest. In the meantime I pulled out the pasta machine to read the directions since I have never used it before. It is a handcranked Imperia brand that I bought through Amazon last year. To start with there were no directions on how to set it up, go ahead and laugh but it actually took 30 minutes to figure out how to do it... It can't clamp on to either my kitchen counter nor my dining room table because of their sizes. So I tried clamping it on to my sons chair but that was an awkward position to work in and the pasta had no where to go but the floor. I did finally manage to get it clamped onto my table but not really securely...
When I unwrapped the dough, it was quite sticky. Mario says to go very easy on the flour so that is what I did, but it stuck to everything, the cutting board, the table, the machine, my hands, itself, etc. I tried using more flour but it still stuck and then the book said that when the dough comes out (on the largest settings) to fold it in half and feed it through again but for some reason the piece would end up being wider than the machine.
Suddenly I noticed little silver specks inside my dough, upon closing inspection it turns out my machine is peeling!
and it was flaking into my dough!! I trudge on and it seems to be be coming together for two feeds or so then it gets messed up. Now I am noticing little red smears on my dough, it took a couple minutes of inspecting the table and everything in the vicinity before I realize at some point I sliced my thumb and was actually bleeding quite a bit.... oh, well it will just be colorful pasta.
I get two semi decent sheets out of the fist batch and the door bell rings. It is some woman selling wind chimes!!
She goes on into a 10 minute speech about the significance of each of the animals on them and the special materials they are made of, then the next 5 minutes in commenting on how cute the kids are and asking various questions about life in Japan. I finally said no thank you and she left..
back to the pasta my two strips are slightly dried out now but I decided to run them through one last time.Tthen I cried for the first time:
I went back to the books and started reading to see what was going on. It was then that I noticed in the recipe he has for the pansotti is a little different then the general fresh pasta rolling and cutting explanation he has. It says to just put it through the second to last setting once and then cut it into 3 inch circles. Well this sounds much easier! It is much harder to crank now and the hand crank piece is now falling out of the machine every three cranks instead of every five...
but I get a nice long piece that I probably floured more than I should have and set about cutting circles. I think the pasta was too thin though because as I would pick up the shape it would stretch into a long oval and if any part touched another part they would be instantly stuck together. After 5 tries I said screw it and decided to just turn it into tagliatelle with the attachment. It would take another 10 paragraphs to describe that disaster so I am going to stop now.
Thank god for instant pasta!!
I took the zucchini filling and the oil and walnut sauce and combined it all togther.
the whole process took over three hours and it left a good sized chip in my dining room table....