Monday, February 8, 2010

Slow Sunday Dinner

I don't always feel like spending four hours making a simple dinner of pasta and sauteed vegetables but yesterday I did. I began at about ten in the morning by milling some coarse semolina durum wheat semolina (heron "semolina;" most semolina available in the US is made from durum wheat although semolina can be milled from rice and other grains.) into fine flour.

I'm not a big fan of pasta made with coarse semolina. It's very difficult to knead into smooth dough and usually ends up with a deeply puckered texture after it is cooked. A little puckering is good because the resulting coarse texture is interesting and helps the sauce to cling to the pasta. to to minimize pasta puckering I usually make it from Durum flour (which is the same thing as semolina, only finer) or just plain old AP flour. However, the flavor of pasta made from AP flour is not so great, so since I did not have any durum flour in the house but I did have semolina and I DO own a great grain mill I milled my own durum flour.

After I milled and mixed the flour with eggs and a little oil I let it sit for an hour before kneading to give the flour time to absorb all of the water from the eggs. I know an hour is a long time but since there was oil in recipe creating a barrier and slowing water absorption and since the flour is hard to begin with (durum does mean "hard" after all) an extended autolyse period was warranted. After an hour I put the dough in the stand mixer bowl and tried to knead it with the dough hook but it refused to come together. I'm not sure why it would not knit but I lost patience with this pretty quickly and decided to knead it by hand. After the dough was nice and smooth I stuck it a zip-lock bag and tossed it into the refrigerator to rest for a few hours.

Then I pulled out my grinder attachment ground some pork and beef, cut some mire poix and knocked together a reasonably authentic Bolognese style meat sauce. I'll let the photos run the rest of the narrative. I've already spent enough time on what is proving to be the slowest slow-food Sunday dinner I've made in a long time.



10 comments:

Carrie said...

Wait, are those all kitchenaid attachments?? I had no idea there were so many. I REALLY want the attachment that makes noodles. My hand cranked pasta machine has a hard time separating noodles and I get frustrated with it pretty quickly.

I spent a lot of time on food yesterday as well but it was all typical Superbowl food. Maybe I should have switched to pasta as my husband was up with heartburn most of the night!

Bob del Grosso said...

Carrie
Yes, I've got a meat grinder, grain mill and pasta extrusion attachment.
The grinder is so-so, the grain mill is great and the extruder (an Xmas gift) is still in the evaluation phase.

I assume you have a roller-cutter type machine for making 'sheeted' pasta. I've been using those for years and find that they usually work best of the broader cuts. The extruder is actually no better at separating long thin strands and so far the only work around I've found is to sprinkle the stands with a light dusting of flour before they hit the counter top.

Jason Sandeman said...

I love this! I use an old fashioned rolling machine and grinder that I inherited from Nonna when she passed away. Sometimes the slow is worth it!

bob mcgee said...

Bucatini- by far, my favorite pasta.
I think it's the slurp factor.
BTW Those eggs look fantastic, just off the farm?

Bob del Grosso said...

Bob McGee
I know this is going to be hard to believe but those eggs are from Land O' Lakes. I don't know what they are doing but the color and taste is superior to any other mass produced egg. I hope no one from Land O' Lakes follows this blog. I'm not interested in endorsing them...

Leesie said...

This was a fun read and great little video, Bob. I made homemade gnocchi last week and lasagna yesterday. You've inspired me to try to make some homemade pasta. It really is easy and, although time consuming, so worth it. My mom made the best ravioli and pastas for soup and sauce.

You didn't say say -- I sure hope you enjoyed all of your hard work.

P.S. I freaking love your copper pots!

Bob del Grosso said...

Leesie
If I did not love doing it, I would not have done it.

Saffron Paisley said...

Fresh milled grains are so fantastic, really makes a difference, I think. Excellent meal, Bobby!

Joowon said...

So inspirational! Now gonna go brainstorm what to make for my slowest slow-food Sunday dinner :)

Bob del Grosso said...

Joowon,
Thank you, I'm happy you found some joy in my effort. Good luck with Sunday dinner!