Pasta can be an easy go-to for parents when trying to think of a simple low-cost meal for their kids. There are plenty of easy pasta recipes around however most of the time I can be guilty of buying pre-booked pasta shapes for the quick win. This can get a little boring and there’s nothing better to make pasta more interesting than making your own fresh pasta from scratch. What’s better is you can either make it with the kids, providing them with great social engagement and self-satisfaction, or you can make it yourself for a romantic meal for a loved one. It honestly is one of the easiest things to cook for dinner from scratch. Chances are you already have the ingredients in your cupboard too.
Now, whilst I suggest using a type “00” flour it really doesn’t matter if you’re using a standard plain flour to try this out at first. If you are using type “00”, this is often more expensive in the supermarkets. To keep the costs down, keep your eyes peeled for new lines added at a trial price, or end of line clearances are often placed in the reduced sections of the bakery aisle. For example, the Selezione Casillo Type 00 was reduced in the Tesco near me, most likely due to new packaging designs coming in.
You can make a variety of pasta shapes and sizes quite simply at home using either a food processor special pasta-making apparatus or even just by hand using your basic utensils. In this example, I’m going to be focusing on making it by hand from scratch with my kids. We’re using a few bowls, a clean work surface, the longest rolling pin we could get our hands on and the ingredients for fresh pasta laid out below. In this recipe, we’re going to be making tagliatelle but you can use the pasta for any shape or size you wish.
1 egg per person
100g type 00 flour per person
spare flour for rolling.
There’s a huge number of ingredients you can add to pasta to make it different. Whether it’s a simple sauce or mixing in a couple of ingredients to spice it up with colour, every version is different. I wanted to set out some of my favourites for you to try. They’re all simple easy pasta sauce recipes and only require a few extra ingredients to mix in with the choice of pasta you have made.
FRESH TOMATO AND SWEET BASIL
Mix around 7 chopped and diced tomatoes with 1 large clove of crushed garlic.
Add in 3 to 4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and a good grinder salt and pepper.
If you have basil sweet Basil to hand take a few leaves and Chop finely to mix him failing this you can use mixed herbs from your spice rack.
Mozzarella works well as a cheese for this dish for kids as it gives a beautiful stringy nature. It encourages them to spin that pasta fork and collect long tagliatelle or spaghetti covered in a gorgeous red sauce and strands of playfully stringy cheese. Yum!
CHEESE LOADED PASTA
This is most certainly the simplest of pasta sauces to add as the cheese melts in to make its own creamy sauce.
Simply add your cheeses of choice to your fresh hot, drained pasta. I’d start with adding 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, the same of Gruyere or Edam and the same amount of a decent mozzarella or fontina. If you can you get the mozzarella ball shopping leave introduces and throwing in at additional creaminess. Adding in 1 dessert spoon of butter to coat finishes off this classy dish ready for seasoning to your liking.
Tip: If you’re making this for adults then I highly recommend cooking garlic-infused camembert in the oven ready to scoop out into the pasta as it gives it a beautiful warm and rich nutty flavour.
Kid Tip: Adding in peas to this beauty makes a lovely “easy-peasy-cheesy” pasta which is fun to eat and adds colour.
TOMATO, ONION AND SAUTEED MUSHROOM
Start off by heating a few tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. I’d suggest keeping at the medium heat and adding in one cup of chopped onions, cooking them through until clear.
After six or seven minutes chop in a few tomatoes along with 1 to 2 cups of sliced mushrooms.
Allow is to simmer for a quarter of an hour adding a little bit of butter if needed to moisten. As the mixture thickens stir in some basil or mixed herbs from your spice rack and fold into your fresh pasta to serve.
This one’s ideal for using up leftover chicken from a roast at work equally well with gammon.
Melt one dessert spoon worth of butter into a non-stick saucepan and 4 dessert spoons of cream cheese.
Add to this a liberal amount of garlic powder if you have it or mix in crushed garlic cloves.
Using a whisk, beat away at the mixture until it becomes smooth adding in around 150ml to 200ml of fresh milk. Finally, add in as much parmesan as you would like along with a good sprinkling of black pepper and allow the sauce to reduce the consistency and thicken.
Fold the sauce into your pasta and toss in shredded chicken from leftovers.
Source a decent pack of bacon lardons or smoked pancetta from a local supermarket. Saute this chopped pancetta in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil until crispy.
Add finely chopped garlic to mix (around four cloves will do this) and reduce the heat slightly to the garlic does not burn. Beat in 3 large eggs (yolk only) and a decent amount of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano in a mug.
Add your pasta to the pan with e pancetta and garlic and turn off the heat. Toss in the egg and Parmigiano-Reggiano mix into the pasta pan. Keep the mixture moving as the residual heat will cook the eggs into this mix quickly and you don’t want the eggs to scramble. Lastly, add a little bit of the pasta water left over from the pasta cooking process to give it an extra silky feel.
Top with more cheese, black pepper and ideally a decent garlic bread!
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