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Smooth things over with pasta
By Paul Shufelt, QMI AGENCY
CANOE - Lifewise Updated: addthis

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, Last Updated: 2:30 PM ET


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Homemade pasta may be just the right trick to get you back in the good books. (Shutterstock)

    You blew it again! You have only been bombarded by advertisements day in and day out for the last month.

    You have probably been dropped a dozen or more "gentle hints" about her idea of the most romantic thing a guy could do for her. Despite all that, you forgot to make a dinner reservation, the flower shop is closed, and Purdy's ran out of Hedgehogs, so you were stuck picking up a bucket of chicken for you and your special someone on Valentine's Day.

    So now you're looking at yet another year of waking up the morning after in the dog house. Shame on you! How could you forget such an important day in your relationship?

    Don't worry boys, I got your back! It's time to take you from romantic zero to romantic superhero. Forget trying to make the post V-day reservation, forget the cheap grocery store flowers, you're in too deep this time guys and it's time to up the ante. It's time to pull out the big guns. It's time to make your wife a romantic dinner. I'm not talking about opening a can of ravioli and reheating it in the microwave, or doing some 'finger-cooking'. It's time to put in that extra effort and show her that you really care, unless, of course you're don't mind riding the couch until she finds it in her to forgive you.

    A favourite in my household is always when we take out the pasta machine and make some fresh pasta, and I think this is just the right trick to get you back in the good books. The thing about making fresh pasta is that it can actually be fun and interactive with your partner. That, and the fact that it is actually fairly easy to do, make it a real great choice. Let's start with what you will need.


    Grocery List

    All Purpose Flour

    Semolina (should find this at most grocery stores, Italian Centre for sure!)

    Eggs

    Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Salt

    Special Tools

    Manual Pasta Maker or

    Kitchen Aid with Pasta Maker attachment or

    Good old rolling pin

    A Little Extra Help

    A good bottle of her favourite Red Wine

    An 'I'm an idiot' card

    An iPod with her favourite music

    Having the pasta maker can be really handy, and using the KitchenAid to make the dough can really make this easy for you. If you have a KitchenAid, chances are it came with the pasta attachment. If not, you can usually pick one up at a department store for $20-30. You can also find the manual pasta maker at a kitchen supply store, or the Italian Centre, for anywhere from $40-80. This machine will last a lifetime, as long as it is taken care of, so it's a good investment. If this is starting to sound like a little too much work for you, don't fret. This whole recipe can be done with a little elbow grease and a rolling pin. If you don't know what elbow grease is, then I can't help you. Beg for forgiveness and be thankful she keeps you around!

    Easy Fresh Pasta Recipe

    Ingredients:

    3 cups all-purpose flour

    1 cup semolina

    5 egg yolks

    1 egg

    1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

    1/4 cup water

    1 pinch salt

    Directions:

    Combine the flour, semolina and salt in a bowl, and mix until evenly blended

    Place the flour mixture on the counter in a pile and make a well in the centre

    Place the egg, egg yolks, water and olive oil in the well

    Using a fork, slowly stir the egg mixture in the well, incorporating more and more flour as you go, being careful not to break the well and having the liquid spill everywhere

    Once the majority of the liquid is soaked up it's time to get your hands dirty and start kneading the dough together.

    If you would rather use the KitchenAid, the directions are a little simpler, combine the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl, using the dough arm (the one that looks like a hook!) stir the ingredients, then add the wet ingredients and blend until the mixture forms a loose ball.

    At this point, you need to knead and work the dough with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, otherwise your pasta will be flabby and soft when you cook it. There's no real secret to kneading, just keep bashing it, pushing it, pulling it etc. It will be hard work and you may even break a sweat doing it, but it will be well worth it. Your dough is ready when it starts to feel smooth and silky, rather than rough and floury

    Place it in a bowl and seal it with plastic wrap, ensuring that it is completely sealed so it doesn't dry out. Place it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes

    Take the time to prepare this before your better half gets home, clean up the mess, freshen up, decant the wine, light some candles, then finish things off once she arrives. After all, you're doing all this work, you want to make sure she sees the effort you put into it, right?

    It's time to pull it all together.

    If you have a pasta machine, you're laughing, if not, it's not a big deal. Using the machine, starting on the widest setting (usually #1), slice off a small wedge of the dough, and press it into a fairly flat rectangular shape, then roll it through the machine, fold in half, roll it through again, fold and roll three to four times, to work the dough, then you're ready to actually roll the pasta. Roll the dough through on the first setting, then click it smaller and roll it through again, until you reach the smallest setting. Lightly dust the pasta with flour every time you roll it through. If you are doing this with the rolling pin, the same rules apply; break off a small piece, rather than trying to use the whole thing at once. Roll it out as thin as you can, flouring as you go.

    Now it's time to finish the job. Use the cutting attachment to cut the pasta to your liking. I recommend cutting it into something simple, like fettuccine or linguini the first time you make it. If you aren't using the machine, fold the sheets in three or four and slice it to your desired thickness with a sharp knife. Once you get comfortable making pasta dough, the possibilities are almost endless, ravioli, cannelloni, lasagne, and so on. Maybe you can even prepare a fresh roasted beet and goat cheese stuffed ravioli like I did! All it takes is a little practice, and some creativity.

    When cooking the fresh pasta, ensure your water is boiling and well salted. Cooking the pasta for 2-3 minutes, strain and lightly toss with butter or olive oil. Toss with your wife's favourite pasta sauce and serve with some fresh shaved parmesan. You do know what her favourite pasta sauce is right? Geez, do I have to do everything for you? Maybe you deserve to be in the doghouse!

    This story was posted on Wed, February 15, 2012

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