Impromptu fresh pasta dinner against all odds
Last night I hosted an impromptu dinner against all odds.
This season of our lives has been one of hustle, and not the meaningless trying-to-fill-my-day-to-prove-im-busy sort. Real hustle. The kind that slowly gnaws at you and leaves dark clouds below the gentle skin of our under-eyes. The sort that keeps us awake well into the night and wakes us with a start.
In our house, fall is the season where Thomas works around the clock to make sure all of the concrete clients are satisfied before the snow blanket settles over the city.
On my end, it is often a season of rush, when my design clients realize back to school has passed and holiday promotions need to be strategized on, dreamed up and created.
The season of work, difficult weather & heart warming food
It's also a season of weather temper tantrums akin to those of a small child in the God forsaken terrible twos. The daily warm and nightly cool mean that I need to add more hustle to my plate and get the garden sorted out in a jiffy when this temperamental mother nature decides unexpectedly to delivery early snow instead of rain. I almost lost my basil to this battle, but thankfully, it was brought inside in the nick of time and with a sticky coating if fresh wet white mess to boot.
This crazy season, one would argue, would be a great one to keep friends and relations at bay, do the work and leave the rekindling of relationships old and new to the holiday season. That would be the logical thing to do it seems, but alas I'm hardly one to be practical when someone says they're finally available for dinner after months of company-less meals for two.
So, I hosted an impromptu dinner last night between the work and the harvest. Needless to say it came together beautifully despite the odds and the tired faces around the table that all clearly needed a respite from the mundane grind as much as I did.
Fresh pasta with ragu
I made a batch of fresh pasta, with organic eggs and local flour & kneaded it in traditional way on our butcher block table top until the dough had absorbed all the flour and then I left it to rest in a cul-de-poule until the gluten became tender and supple.
After about a half hour of sauce making, I rolled each portion if pasta out by hand, with our clamp-on-the-counter pasta roller. First at the largest setting and then slowly made my way down before hand-cutting them in wide strips perfect for the blogonese ragu I had bubbling on the stove.
A bottle of red wine, one I'd been keeping for an occasion exactly like this, was pulled out of storage in the basement and uncorked to breathe before settling it down on the table for the company along with my favorite stemless glasses.
Pasta was rolled, stories were shared & faces where warmed with wine. Our house was filled with laughter for a few fleeting hours before we each returned to our now slightly lighter feeling daily hustles.
1/2 lb ground beef
1 medium yellow onion
24 oz diced tomato
1 T dried basil
1 t marjoram
1 T pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic
Pinch of salt
10 MIN PREP + 30 MIN COOK
In a large pan, cook the meat over medium-high heat along with the onion until it has released all of its juices and is nicely browned.
Squish the tomatoes along with the herbs, then add to the pan along with a pinch of salt & minced garlic.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer until it thickens, about 25 minutes.
Serve with the freshest pasta you can get your hands on or refer to this article for the perfect dry pasta to pair with ragu.