I'm reading this really enlightening book by Michael Ruhlman called Ratio. (Thanks for the rec, Jody!) It explains the differences and nuances between many of the wonderful things made with flour, fat, and liquid: crepes, cakes, muffins, pancakes, popovers, biscuits, and pasta and more. How can so many things be made with essentially the same ingredients be so different? The answer is the ratio in which the ingredients are used and the order in which they are mixed. It's a fascinating premise.
HERE on his blog. I tend to agree with him although I'm a little more
old-school about it. I use 1 1/2 cups of flour and add 2 eggs. The eggs will pick up all the flour they need. Both methods work. His method is more exacting; mine is more grandma.
In the book, he goes into detail about how to add spinach to pasta for color, but says that it doesn't add much flavor. That got me to thinking, how do you add a welcome flavor to plain ol' pasta? I decided toasting the flour might be a good method, and it was. It adds a deep, nutty, fried chicken-esque flavor to fresh pasta. If you are inclined to make your own pasta, I suggest toasting the flour. The result is like nothing else you've ever tasted, and the burnished color is really nice.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (like Whole Foods 365 brand)
In a large dry frying pan over medium-high heat, toast the flour by moving it constantly around the pan using a rubber spatula; take care not to burn any part of the flour. Keep turning the flour until it's about the color of a lunch bag and the aroma is nutty and fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Run the cooled flour through the food processor to break up any lumps that may have formed. Make pasta according to Ruhlman's ratio and method.
Sun-dried Tomato and Canellini Bean Ragout
1 recipe toasted flour pasta (R.'s recipe above)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic (sliced)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 can cannellini beans (drained, rinsed; Whole Food 365 brand)
1/2 cup minced sun-dried tomato
1/4 cup parmesan (more to garnish)
kosher salt and cracked black pepper (to taste)
Arugula, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar (to garnish)
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil and add the garlic cloves. Once they stat to brown, add the wine, sugar, and Italian seasoning. Reduce by half. Add the beans and tomato and heat through. Turn the heat off and add the parmesan. Cook pasta and add the pasta directly to the ragout. Toss to incorporate and add a few tablespoons of pasta water if the mixture looks dry.
Serve garnished witha little arugula, a drizzle of olive oil, and a bit of balsamic vinegar.
(Makes 4 servings.)
*So this is the first thing we made with our toasted flour pasta. What would you do with yours?