The Empty Fridge is a monthly series where we challenge that formidable void
and make the best of what's on hand. Join us every third Tuesday* for a new installment, and
feel free to share your empty fridge recipes in the comments for this post!
Up this month: Summer Tagliatelle
You would think that someone who had lived in Italy would have ventured into the world of handmade pasta on many occasions, but sadly, that is nowhere near the truth.
The truth is, it took me a decade of living stateside and an empty fridge to give it a go. Peering into the cold void on a Monday night I realized that the leftover contents inside were calling me to try my hand.
And so, like all those Italian mamas, I mixed and kneaded, rolled, cut, and boiled. . .
I tossed a few veggies in a skillet with. . .
. . . a bit of cured meat. . .
. . . and dinner magically appeared. Oh I definitely will not be waiting another ten years to try this again!
Homemade Summer Tagliatelle
What I had:
- A small box of cherry tomatoes
- 2 hand fulls of kale
- Half an onion
- 3 slices of bacon
- 4 eggs
- Flour (2 3/4 cups)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Some feta cheese
For the pasta, mound the flour on a sheet of parchment paper. Make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it. Start "stirring" in the flour with our hands until the mixture is combined.
When all of the flour is integrated, start kneading, adding a bit of flour to the work surface here and there as needed. You'll want to keep kneading until the dough become smooth and is no longer sticky. If it's sticky, keep going, you're building up the gluten for a lovely chewy pasta. When the dough is smooth, wrap it up (so it won't dry out) and let it sit for a while on the counter to rest (10-20 minutes).
While the pasta dough is resting, start frying the bacon. While the bacon is cooking, cut your cherry tomatoes in half, chop the kale into roughly 1" square pieces, slice the garlic, and dice your onion.
When the bacon is crispy, take it out of the pan and let it drain on some paper towels. Pour off the excess bacon fat and add a bit of olive oil. Toss in the onions first. When they are beginning to soften, add the kale for a moment before adding the tomatoes and garlic. Saute until the tomatoes are soft but still hold a bit of their shape. Chop the bacon and add it back in. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Start a pot of water on the stove. Salt it well. While the water is heating up, cut your dough into four pieces and begin rolling one out. The trick is to get it as thin as humanly possible. The pasta will plump up quite a bit, so the extra effort will be worth it in the end. I thought mine was pretty thin, but after I cooked it up I realized I could have gone even thinner.
I chose to make over sized tagliatelle, so once my dough was rolled out I cut strips that were about 3/4" wide and placed them out in a single layer on sheets of parchment.
When you have all of the pasta cut, toss it in the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes. Take the noodles out with a slotted spoon or tongs and add them to the sauce. Add a bit of the pasta water to the sauce and turn on the heat to cook it off and allow the sauce flavors to penetrate the noodles.
Plate the pasta and garnish with fresh basil and a bit of feta cheese (or goat cheese, or Parmesan... whatever you have on hand).
With the Kids:
*This month's post is a day late due to some technical malfunctions yesterday... but better late than never right?
** Last time on the empty fridge: Croquettes and Spicy Pickled Carrots