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Archive for February, 2009

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One of my Christmas gifts was a set of pasta plates for my KitchenAid stand mixer. I’ve read mixed reviews about the pasta plates, and I’m unsure how I feel about them. When the pasta comes out, it immediately sticks together, and it’s hard and time-consuming to peel each noodle apart one by one. It took me a long time to process half of the dough from the recipe; the other half is sitting in my fridge – I’m unsure whether or not I’ll be using it.

Another downside to the plates is that they’re hard to clean (poor Stas!).

But the upside is that it was very cool to have made my own pasta… it’s something I’ve wanted to do for awhile.

And it was very tasty!

Basic Pasta Dough
serves 4-8

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)

Make a mound with the flour and use your fingers to create a well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well, and add the salt and olive oil. Using a fork, carefully whisk the eggs, slowly drawing in some of the surrounding flour. Once the eggs are whisked, use the fingertips of one hand to swirl the egg in a circular motion, continuing to draw in flour until it is fully combined. If the dough is too stiff or crumbly, add a small amount of water; if it is too wet, add a small amount of flour. Knead the dough for 7-10 minutes, divide into 4 pieces, and cover them loosely with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 30-60 minutes.

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(Now the dough is ready for your pasta press)

To cook the pasta, add it to salted boiling water and boil for3-5 minutes.

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Pelmeni

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On Thursday, I’ll be leaving Stas behind to go on a cruise to Cozumel, Mexico. This year, my company turns 25. To celebrate, they are flying the entire company (worldwide) to Miami. From there, we’ll board the Carnival Destiny, which they have chartered and we will have all to ourselves. It’s a short cruise; I’ll be home Sunday night.

Part of my preparations involve making sure Stas will have some easy dinner options while I’m gone. One of his options – and one of his absolute favorites – is pelmeni: little meat-filled raviolis.

You can make each ravioli by hand, one by one. But a much quicker option is a pelmeni mold.

This recipe was adapted from one that Stas’ mom passed along. It usually makes “3 pelmeni molds” (37 little raviolis per mold; 111 per recipe). You can eat them all right away, or store them in the freezer, where they can stay for months. When you want to cook them, no need to defrost – just plop them into salted boiling water.

Pelmeni

For the Dough:

  • 1.5 – 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Meat Filling:

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • garlic, to taste
  • fresh dill, chopped
  • fresh parsley, chopped

1. Prepare the dough: mix the flour, eggs, water, and salt together until a dough forms. Add flour as needed, until dough is easy to handle. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

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2. Prepare the meat filling: Combine the pork, onions, salt, pepper, garlic, dill, and parsley in a large mixing bowl; mix well.

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3.  Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Take one piece and roll it out until it fits the mold. You will need to add flour as you roll it out, to prevent it from sticking to the board and pin. Place the rolled sheet over the mold and cover each hole with meat.

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Take another piece of dough and roll it out to the same size as the first. Place it over the meat-filled mold. Run a rolling pin over the top to form the raviolis:

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Pull off the excess dough from the outer rim and set aside. Pick up the mold, turn it over, and bang it like a tambourine to remove the raviolis (that’s the best way I can describe it).

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If you aren’t going to eat them right away, place them on a single-layer on a cookie sheet, and place in the freezer until frozen. Then transfer them to a plastic bag.

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4. Repeat step 3 with the remaining 2 pieces of dough. Then use the scraps from the first 2 batches to make a third batch. The dough will be tougher to roll out, but it’ll work!

5. To cook the pelmeni, place them in salted boiling water. Boil them until they float – times will vary for fresh or frozen pelmeni. Serve with a pat of butter, pour on some vinegar, and garnish with fresh dill.

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Makes 3 batches with a pelmeni mold

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