The Cocktail Diaries: The Mai Tai
Tiki drinks are a way to escape to the tropics without actually buying a plane ticket. I highly recommend getting started with a Mai Tai.
A word about fresh pasta: It is basically da bomb, and I don’t use that term lightly. It’s especially excellent if you are trying to express your love via food for someone this week.
This is the second recipe we’ve made from the February Bon Appetit (which has pasta on the cover and tons of pasta recipes inside). Not all of them require fresh handmade pasta. But this is the type of pasta that would probably be really gross if it was packaged and/or shelf stable.
And let me tell you about gnudi. It’s basically like gnocchi, except with cheese instead of potatoes and larger. I love me some gnocchi, but I think we can all agree that cheese > potatoes. And the pomodoro sauce? Well, when you fry garlic in oil, and then add tomatoes, then simmer – well, you get pretty close to heaven. I about fainted when I was taking photos of this dish because it smelled so good, and I was so hungry.
Get the sauce going first. You will need:
1 28-oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped (or you know. more.)
1/2 tsp. sugar
Puree the tomatoes in a blender.
Heat the oil in a saucepan on medium and add the garlic to brown – this will not take long. Add the tomatoes, sugar and salt and simmer until the sauce has thickened significantly – this took about 30 minutes for us.
Here’s what you need for the pasta:
16 oz. ricotta (we used part skim)
1 egg, beaten slightly
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (NOT the green can, yo!)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup AP flour
Stir all ingredients except the flour together in a mixing bowl until well combined. Add in the flour next, working in 1/4 cup at a time. The mixture should form a pretty stable dough but still be softish. If it doesn’t hold its shape, add more flour by the tablespoon-ful until it does. Mine looked startlingly like mashed potatoes.
Prepare a large plate or a flat pan with about a half cup of flour sprinkled in it, and place at your workstation. Shape the dough into little footballs using two large spoons – shoot for about 1.5 inches long and less than an inch wide. I found it easiest to scoop the dough into one spoon, and basically scoop it from one spoon to another until it was ovalish.
Drop them onto the plate/pan and toss gently to coat with flour.
Toss 5-7 in the boiling water at a time (depending on your pot – mine was actually pretty small) and cook for a full five minutes. Divide among bowls/plates, and top with the pomodoro sauce. We topped it with plenty of Parmesan and chiffonaded basil. And of course, freshly ground black pepper.
Adapted slightly from Bon Appetit, February 2013.