A shout out to Dave’s and some brave New Year eats

Yesterday, in the midst of a lazy frigid New Year’s Day malaise, my husband and I had a reasonably productive culinary afternoon. Thanks in part to a Wednesday shopping spree and a class we had taken at Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Davis Square:  http://davesfreshpasta.com/ . My husband, who is a bit of a culinary wizard himself and certainly more adventurous in the eating department than I am, came home with two options for our New Year’s Day dinner: a roasting chicken or tripe.  Tripe, for those of you who are blissfully unaware, is the lining of a cow’s stomach (lots of people, including me back in the day, think it is some sort of fish…) It sounds gross, I know, and I don’t eat many of the “icky” parts like liver, kidney, or tongue, so you might ask why I didn’t squeal and run in horror…

Well, when done correctly, tripe can be one of the most tender and delicious things you’ll ever have. But it involves a long time braising in a flavorful liquid and, as we found out the hard way, you have to cut it into teeny tiny pieces. If you don’t do that, it doesn’t get the succulent melt-in-your-mouth quality it is supposed to have, and it’s sort of unappealing to look at in large pieces.  So it wasn’t 100% success with my hubby’s bold voyage into the world of strange eats, but he did make a really delicious sauce in the process, so it also wasn’t a loss. The sauce was herby, with a tomato base, lots of onion, carrot, celery and some bay leaves to name a few ingredients. No recipe to give out as he did all the cooking while I took a nap (yeah, I am a lucky girl! 🙂 ) and didn’t measure or remember everything he threw in the stock pot.

So what does this have to do with Dave’s ? Well, about a month back we took a pasta making class there and I have to admit the results are nothing short of remarkable. Why? Because despite my genetic make-up and past proximity to little Italian Nonnas (grandmothers) I couldn’t make fresh pasta to save my life. Here is the recipe but I can tell you that it is approximate because dough is temperamental and it will depend on the weather, which way the sun is facing, whether the crow flew at midnight, etc, to get it right. I recommend a class (or grandmom) to teach you the first time largely because you really have to feel the dough done right in order to make it well. For those who are local to Boston, I’d like to suggest you go and support Dave’s and have the master himself teach you during the course of a very enjoyable evening. (extra motivation: there’s WINE involved….)

1 cup semolina flour

1 cup durum flour

generous pinch of salt

2 eggs

combine dry ingredients and mix until combined in a large bowl. Make well in the center of dry ingredients and add eggs. Using a fork, mix the eggs and then slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the mix. Once a dough has started to come together, knead for another 5ish minutes and incorporate more and more flour until dough is relatively dry (not real sticky). Wrap in plastic and place in fridge for 30+mins to rest. When you are ready to roll out, remove from fridge and allow dough to warm to room temp. Follow directions on pasta machine to roll out, don’t over roll and continue to add some flour as you go if the dough is sticky.

We use a hand-cranked pasta maker to roll out the dough once it was made and rested, and used the machine to make fettucini which was really tasty with the tripe sauce. You won’t believe how easy and fast it is to make your own pasta. The only downside, if you’re a disaster like me, is the mess you make with the flour. The pasta cooks in boiling water in about 4 minutes.

So this is how we started off our new year. We wish all a very healthy, fat ‘n happy, culinarily (or otherwise) adventurous new year!

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