This is my story of how I became the “Pasta Princess” and went from scared to obsessed!
The Seed Was Planted . . .
The seed was planted one weekend when my husband and I went on a road trip to the West Side Market in Cleveland. It’s a wonderful bustling market alive with sights, sounds, smells – everything that delights and excites the senses! You can find fruit and vegetables, meats, breads, cheeses, spices, pasta, coffee, international foods among other items! If you are ever in the Cleveland, Ohio area, the West Side Market is a must do! One of our first stops in the market was Ohio City Pasta. Wow! What a selection of amazing homemade pasta! Looking at the various pastas in the display case it was so hard to choose – I wanted everything! We finally decided on a lobster filled ravioli. YUM! After a few hours of browsing, drooling, buying and filling our coolers with goodies we stopped for lunch and headed home.
Of course I couldn’t wait to cook the ravioli for dinner! My husband and I are quite different in many ways. This is very apparent when we’re eating dinner together. He eats his food and doesn’t comment on it. When I ask him if he likes what I made he says “I’m eating it aren’t I? If I wasn’t eating it you’d know I didn’t like it.” “There has been only one thing you’ve made that I didn’t like, you’re a great cook.” Lately I have noticed as he takes his first bite and likes it he nods his head and says “Uh huh”, his version of this is really good! Now, on the other half of this equation is me, who is always quite vocal about what I’m eating. For some reason I feel the need to comment on the taste and presentation of the food. So when I cooked the scrumptious looking lobster ravioli along with a sun-dried tomato cream sauce for dinner and took my first bite, closed my eyes to savor the taste, and said OMG this is sooo good! My husband just rolled his eyes, said “here we go again” and knew I would be saying this a number of times as I took another bite and another and another. Homemade pasta is simply delicious and once you eat it you will never want to buy dried pasta in a box again!
The beginning of my obsession . . .
The seed was planted now and got me thinking about making my own ravioli. This idea seemed daunting to me and it resided in the back of my mind for a few months. Then, the seedling started to grow … in came my “baby”, my brand new shiny Kitchenaid mixer! Now, you have to understand, never in my life have I been excited about appliances … until now! OMG I love my Kitchenaid mixer! Anything that will make my life easier is a blessing! A few weeks later along came the pasta maker attachments! I was almost ready to take action! I scoured the internet for articles on making ravioli, searching for tips and tricks that others have discovered. Of course some of this information only fueled the fear further as I read such things as “if you have air pockets in your ravioli they will burst when you cook them”, “if your filling is too mushy the ravioli will not seal”, “be careful that your dough doesn’t become like leather”. Yikes!! Equipped with the knowledge of how to make ravioli the weekend finally arrived and there was no stopping me! I took out the attachments with excitement as I gathered my ingredients of flour, salt, olive oil, eggs and water. Making the dough was a breeze – I just poured all ingredients into my mixer and let it do the work. So far, so good! After the dough rested I took out my dough rolling attachment and hooked it onto my Kitchenaid and marveled at how quick and easy it was to turn a glob of dough into a nice long thin sheet of pasta! I must admit, it took a few tries of putting the dough through the roller and having it come out with holes in it until I realized that I needed to dust the dough with some flour before sending it through the roller – problem solved!! I had purchased a ravioli form and was so excited to make my first batch of 12. My filling was in the fridge and ready. Previously I had prepared Tyler Florence’s Chicken Marsala Ravioli Filling so I was good to go! I laid out my dough over the mold, filled the pockets, placed another layer of dough on top and rolled it with a rolling-pin to seal and remove any air pockets, flipped the mold to the other side and out popped perfect looking ravioli!
Now fast forward to dinner time … the anticipation was building!! I put a large pot of water on the stove to boil and prepared a rosemary mushroom cream sauce to accompany the ravioli. The water was at a full boil, the sauce was ready and here I was standing by the stove staring at the boiling water and the plate of freshly made ravioli ready to hit the water. All that kept going through my head was OMG what if they have air pockets and burst after all that work!! I must have stood there like that for about 5 minutes. I dropped the first ravioli in, and then the 2nd and the 3rd and then the rest and not a one burst! I couldn’t have been more excited! I plated the ravioli with the sauce and we sat down to eat. I’m sure all night my husband kept hearing the echos of my voice saying “OMG … this is sooo good!”
Full Blown Pasta Obsession
It seems funny now, but I was actually a bit nervous and apprehensive mixed in with excitement. I still don’t understand why making pasta scared me! I guess I just always assumed it would be difficult, and you all know what they say about “ASSUMING”.
Isn’t it funny how something that we approach apprehensively and fearfully, becomes that which we are really good at, becomes an addiction and wasn’t nearly as hard as we thought! I’ve caught the pasta making fever! Four months later I have made over 400 ravioli in different colors, stripes and designs! I now find myself contemplating what color, shape and design of ravioli I will be making next!
After having made over 400 ravioli I have now officially become the “Pasta Princess” and more of my world!