Flavor Explosion, From Scratch

This weekend was super busy, but we managed to fit in a meal from scratch.  Since we had plans for Saturday night, we went with Sunday night as THE night to be in the kitchen.  Since we already did tortellini from scratch, it seemed like a good idea to give non-stuffed pasta a try.
I found this cookbook online and I think it might be out of print because (and I got mine WAY cheaper) it was mostly sold online (I think I was on http://www.half.com/) for over $100 and the book is not that big.  Either way, the mystery of the expensive book got to me and when I found it cheaper, I bought it.
Up for dinner we had a saffron pasta dough recipe
with the vodka sauce from this recipe...
Some of the goods.  I tried to get a smaller bottle of vodka, but this was the smallest the base had to offer.  Oh well, looks like we have vodka in our bar now.  Oh, and the recipe called for tomato paste and canned diced tomatoes, and while this is 'from scratch weekends' there is always wiggle room.  I think many sauce recipes call for the canned tomatoes since I noticed it lists the size from the standard can.  Oh well!
First up we have the saffron.  I am sure many of you know this spice gives a brilliant yellow color to food.  When I think of saffron I think paella.

Here is some more information if you are not familiar with this ridiculously expensive spice:
Each saffron crocus flower has 3 stigmas, it takes about 80,000 flowers (240,000) stigmas to make a pound of saffron. It takes an experienced picker about 12 days to pick this many. By the time saffron gets to retail stores, its cost is $600 to over $2000 per pound.

Saffron actually starts of red.  The stigma of the flower is actually red and this is what is saved and dried.
We used the handy dandy mortar and pestle to grind this up.  You can see it is a reddish orange color.  Certainly not the yellow you think of when you hear saffron.
As it is dissolving in the hot water, you can start to see the yellow come out.
The saffron then had the other liquid ingredients added.  This sat a few minutes to help really bring the color out.  In the meantime we set up the Kitchenaid stand mixer, which is really the best kitchen toy ever.  My mother in law, sister in law and aunt (in law) gave this awesome gift to me (ok, us) at my bridal shower.  This was our first time using this overseas.
So the liquid ingredients, which were know pretty yellow, were added to the flour to make the pasta dough.
It's pretty yellow, that's for sure.
And since the dough had to rest for a few minutes, we decided we might as well do a shot.  Hey, what can I say, when there's vodka in the kitchen, things get wild!
Then (post shot) we set up the pasta attachment.  Yes, we do have a pasta roller/machine from my grandmother, but we also bought this attachment multi pack for the mixer and it had a pasta maker too.
This is where you stick the dough...
Turn it on and out comes some pasta.
My new favorite word is extrude.  Yes, here were are extruding pasta.  Honestly, it was like playing with playdough!  Looks like hair!!!
In case you can't tell, we went with regular old spaghetti since it was our first time trying this and there was no need to get too fancy.
Then we set it here to dry.
While the pasta was drying, it was time to start the vodka sauce.  Tomatoes and cream, along with vodka, and some dried pepper flakes, which I think gave it a major kick.
It was a pretty sticky dough (we are thinking due to the humidity here) so it was sorta sticking together, but it seemed to boil with out any difficulty.
If it looks like pasta, and it tastes like pasta...
then it must be PASTA!
Mix it with the sauce...
Here we go.  A lovely candlelit dinner for two with a homecooked meal from scratch and some Timmerman's Lambic, cherry beer.
The final product...
So, the flavor explosion may have been off the charts with this one.  It was very flavorful, very spicy in my opinion.  We both rated this dish fair.  With practice the pasta making will get better.  The original vodka sauce recipe used a herbed pasta, so that may have been a better pairing.  The saffron pasta really had it's own flavor.  The saffron label said it has a peppery taste and I am certain I was tasting that.  I think this saffron pasta dough would be good for a stuffed pasta, maybe even lasagna. 

So that concludes this issue of FROM SCRATCH weekends!

QUESTION:  What is your favorite "flavored" pasta?  Did you make anything from scratch this weekend?


Unknown said...

your dining room is so nice :) Actually, i want to break out the pasta maker 4 Valentines day and trying ravioli! i HATE going out...you should do a post about crappy pre-fix menus on holidays!

I made 2 things from scratch - Peperoni-Cheddar Bread (which was good, even though i don't really care for peperoni) and Cous Cous Salad which is my go-to dinner party dish :) I have the leftovers for lunch today, YUMMO!

Can't wait to see you in March!!

Beth said...

I've thought about getting the pasta maker for the kitchenaid...this post makes it seem more appealing.

I made the crackers. But then you already knew that ;-) We also had homemade pizza on friday and a fantastic vegetarian dish on Saturday (that I will hopefully blog about soon!) Happy Monday!

Tricia said...

I am so super impressed!

Tricia said...

Oh, and I had chocolate pasta once. Yum!

Anonymous said...

Oh no! The attachment you used was a food grinder, not a pasta attachment.


The pasta attachment looks completely different, but hey, it worked right?

Love the idea of adding saphron to your pasta dough. When I took the cooking class at Williams Sonoma they said you could layer in fresh herbs while rolling out which I think would be pretty when making ravioli.

Happy Monday!

Anonymous said...

That pasta looks amazing! I should try making pasta from scratch.
I ended up eating out a lot this weekend. Does making a salad from scratch count? haha.

MelissaNibbles said...

I'm very impressed. It looks like fun night. Vodka makes anything a little more fun too :)

Rachel Lauren said...

I made an awesome Morrocan(ish) Spiced Lentil soup this weekend! In the slowcooker. Still, basically from scratch! Its so good, can't wait to eat more at lunch! Roommate made a broc tofu quiche last night, I stopped by the house and tried a taste, was good! Especially with Rooster.

I don't love pasta. Whole wheat is ok. In like the spiraly shape or the longer fancy macaroni, or israeli cous cous(couscous is pasta!) Only noodles I really like are Yvonne's, with the seasoning on top. omg love.

Rachel Lauren said...

@ Biz319, actually the pasta attachment looks almost exactly the same as the meat grinder, but with different pasta extruding shapes. http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-SNFGA-Pasta-Attachment-Mixers/dp/B00004SGFN/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1265046260&sr=1-2

Gina; The Candid RD said...

Mmm, this looks amazing Melinda!! I made "from scratch" chili this weekend, but it was EASY chili, VERY easy. And actually, I used canned ingredients, so it wasn't from scratch, but hey, better than boxed!

I like the peanutty flavored pasta best. I had it for the first time about a month ago and I'm hooked!

Special K said...

never. wanted. a kitchenaid. more. ...you amaze me! Your values shine!

Abby (Abbys Vegan Eats) said...

I really love how much time/effort you put into making your meals. It really helps you appreciate it, I can imagine!! Everything looks fabulous..

You have such a cute dining room, very homey!

Have a good great day, Melinda :)

sophia said...

I love squid ink pasta.
But yours, with that saffron....wow, talk about a pricey, impressive meal!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

I have only used saffron once, many years ago to make a risotto (which didn't turn out that well). I'll have to use it again...

You always manage to impress me with your homemade breads and pasta!!! So cool! Your dinner looks absolutely beautiful!

I made vegetable stir fry, lots of salads with homemade dressings, and butternut squash soup.

Shannon said...

I remember making pasta from scratch a couple of times when I was little. It was such fun cranking it through the machine. Its always fun when you can play with your food!

Julie said...

oh ma gawd. you have a pasta machine!? that is INSANELY awesome and that mixer is off the track girl! you are HOOKED UP with sweet cooking tools! perfect for your from scratch projects

Nicole, RD said...

Ahhhh! This looks SOOOOOOOOOO good! I love vodka sauces, and homemade noodles? I'm drooling over here!

I love spinach pasta!

FoodFitnessFreshair said...

I love how you make pasta from scratch! Looks great. I just made some lentil chick pea soup from scratch...from scratch anything is the best!

eatingRD said...

I'm so impressed with all your 'from scratch' adventures! there is nothing like fresh pasta!! mmm looks wonderful :)

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