Well, that was the just beginning because once the truffles were sampled, Hannah and Jason set about making the main course: Nettle Noodles with Veggie Sauce.
Nettle Noodles?, you say.
Yes. That was her risky "D" vegetable.
But wait! Nettle begins with an "N".
Why, yes it does! When Hannah planned this meal we did some googling and turned up some articles about Dandelion Nettles. So that's what we thought we'd be cooking with. Turns out there's no such thing as Dandelion Nettles (darned Google! darned Internet!).
Instead, the nettles that Olivia's violin teacher Sharon had raved about (and we bought, in the bulk spice section at Whole Foods) were Stinging Nettles.
Now, one of my most vivid childhood memories is from our family trip to Ireland when I was 9. We spent two weeks traipsing through graveyards with hip-high stinging nettles. Ouch!
So this time we came prepared.
Gotta wonder about a meal that requires plastic gloves to cook!
The other Ingredients:
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups all purpose flour
- 5 extra large eggs
- 1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup dried nettles
1. Put 3 1/2 C. flour in mixing bowl.
2. Stir together eggs, olive oil, and nettles. Add to flour. You can do this by hand or you can use an electric mixer. Dough should make a cohesive mass; if it's too gooey, add a little more flour.
3. Turn dough out of bowl onto plastic wrap. Work with gloved hands until dough forms ball.
(and work it some more. Who needs a gym membership?!?)
4. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest (at room temp or in fridge) for at least 30 minutes.
5. Start a large pot of salted water to boiling.
6. Roll or shape as you would any other pasta dough. (oooh, a chance to try out the rolling pin that's been hiding in our drawer for 2 years!)
This part takes a looooong time. Once it's finally flat & thin-ish you can start cutting the pasta. We used a pizza cutter.
7. Meanwhile, cut up veggies for pasta sauce (we used red pepper, onion, mushrooms, garlic, and a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and saute in a pan on the oven over medium heat.
8. Once all the noodles are cut, drop them one-by-one into the boiling water and let cook for roughly 2 minutes. (They cook lightening fast!)
And, as you can see, they also expand in the water... which is how we ended up with Snakes in the Kitchen.
Yes, these suckers were HUGE!
Chef Hannah -- It was a lot of work and I really didn't like the noodles. My eye itched and I couldn't itch it, which was really annoying.
Chef Jason -- It's not too bad. The nettles give it a good flavor (sort of like spinach). I might try making them again, though I don't know if it's really worth the time. (it took Jason and Hannah nearly 2 hours from start to finish).
Tanya -- The flavor was good, but our noodles were way to thick! I remember helping my grandmother cut noodles at the kitchen table. (Mom says she used to roll them out on newspapers, which kinda grosses me out a little. Unless she used the comics, which could be kinda fun if the print transferred!) I don't remember Grandma Ott's noodles being so labor intensive, but that's probably because she had it down to a science thanks to lots of practice feeding her large family and the dozen or so farm hands. I can't imagine we'll be trying this recipe again (sorry Sharon!) and certainly not with kids in charge of it!
Olivia & her friend Katie (who came over for a sleepover party and was offered Stinging Nettle Pasta for dinner!) -- It tasted pretty plain. We're calling it Noodle Poop.
Now... if all this hasn't dissuaded you from making your own homemade pasta, we suggest you check out how the Pioneer Woman's friend Ryan does it. Clearly, he's got the technique down!