Off days in the restaurant industry are few and far apart. Although feeding people is one of my main joys in life (hence the restaurant) standing in front of the stove for hours on those few and far apart days off aren’t. That and the fact that the guest usually sit in the living room catching up while I miss out!
We bought a pasta machine a while back and soon after making the first batch a light bulb when on. If I can’t join the party, why not bring the party to me? I invited a couple of friends over one night to test my new idea. I made a big batch of sauce and pasta dough just before our guests arrived and left it in the fridge to rest. My only instruction on the invite (leaving many guests clueless) was to each bring an apron.
Upon arrival they were buzzing with questions of why they had to bring an apron but I decided to keep them wondering for a while longer. Laughing, we just poured some wine and told them to relax and have a glass first. The fun will start a bit later. After finishing our wine I told them it’s time to get those aprons on so the cooking can commence. They loved it! Letting everyone roll out their own pasta fills the kitchen with warmth and laughter replacing my usually sulky mood (because I usually missed out on all the new gossip) with excitement! Some were shy at first but the shyness faded quickly after the first dough was rolled.
As everyone rolled their pasta we hung it out. I got a pot of boiling water on and just tossed the cooked pasta through the warm sauce.
A week later our guest still can’t stop talking about the ‘Pasta Party’. My only regret about that night is not taking any photos, not only was the surfaces and bits of the floor covered in flour but some even had flour in their hair and smears on their faces. Never the less it was loads of fun and for once my FOMO (fear of missing out) was side-stepped. Next time we plan to have pizza party night. What do you think? The seafood pasta recipe below is super easy so the stove hours is reduced even more. Hope you enjoy your first pasta party night!
Easy pasta recipe
400g bread flour or ‘OO’ flour
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1. Stir the flour and salt together and make a well in the centre. (You can do this in a bowl or on a clean surface.)
2. Add the eggs and oil to the well. Gently whisk with a fork, using your other hand to secure the walls. Draw in the flour as you go.
3. Bring the dough together and knead for 5-7 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for atleast 30 minutes to rest.
4. Divide dough in 4 portions amd flatten slightly. Set the pasta machine on the widest setting and flour the dough and machine well. Feed through the machine while turning the handle. Fold each short end of the dough into the centre to form a smaller rectangle. Repeat process twice.
5. Reduce width of machine rollers by 1 setting. Dust the dough with flour and feed it through the machine. Repeat until dough is 1.5mm thick. Place the cutting attachment on the machine and feed the sheets through. Drape over a clean broomstick handle or a pasta drier. Repeat with remaining pasta.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 lemon
200g calamari tubes, sliced
12 prawns, cleaned and deveined
1 cup dry white wine
12 mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
1/4 cup red pepper pesto
1 cup cream
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
400g cooked pasta
1 large handful parsley, roughly chopped
Grated parmesan, to serve
1. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the onion, garlic and lemon zest and fry until soft and translucent.
2. Add the calamari and prawns and fry for 1-2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, add the mussels and leave to reduce by half. Discard all the unopened shells.
3. Stir in the pesto and cream and bring to the boil. Season to taste. Toss through the cooked pasta and serve with parlsey and grated parmesan.