You guys are so imaginative! The bonus picture in my last post was just salmon. That is, if you consider home cured and smoked salmon, just salmon. I don’t. I consider it amazing salmon! Salmon that I cured and smoked myself! That’s right, I have now cured my own salmon. What was once something I could only buy from others, I can now produce with ease, in the comfort of my own home in a mere two days. It’s easy! Who knew? And curing my own salmon is just the beginning thanks to Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. I must say, I’m a fan of Michael Ruhlman’s. Before Charcuterie I had read The Making of a Chef, The Soul of a Chef and The Reach of a Chef, all excellent Ruhlman books, as well as The French Laundry Cookbook which is co-written with Thomas Keller and Susie Heller. My most recent Michael Ruhlman acquisition is Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing. I want to make everything in this book. Just like I’m hooked on Dorie, I’m now hooked on Michael too. Future posts may well say something like “Michael said this was how you make…” and you might wonder; who’s this Michael character? No need to wonder, it’s Michael Ruhlman, and I’ll be making a whole lot of recipes from his book. How many people do you know who make their own bacon? Well, now you can say at least 1, because I am currently in the process of making bacon. This makes me happy to no end. Bacon! The candy of meats. Rest assured, there will definitely be a large and enthusiastic post about it when it’s complete.
How does all of this relate to the beautiful picture of pasta you see at the top? That sauce is no ordinary sauce. It’s made with Mexican chorizo sausage that I made myself! Chorizo sausage is something that I’m always looking for at the Farmer’s market in the summer, but it never occurred to me that I could make it myself. But now I have and it’s fantastic, especially in pasta sauce. Chorizo sausage is just another example of one of the many, many gems that can be found in Charcuterie, (oh, and my chickens lately are being brined like they've never been brined before!). You might also have noticed that the pasta that is being smothered by my chorizo sauce looks much more delicious than anything you could buy in a store. It also looks much better than my ugly ravioli. I should always post about my problems, (food related anyways) because someone out there is bound to have a solution. In this case, I had pasta problems. My homemade pasta was tough and I was having difficulty making ravioli with it. I complained about said problem and The Husband from My Husband Cooks and Gattina of Kitchen Unplugged came to the rescue with suggestions for improvement. I hadn’t been happy with any of the pasta recipes I had tried previously, so I decided to give The Husband’s recipe a go. The result was the best pasta I have made to date. And I solved the ravioli problem by eliminating ravioli altogether and instead rolling out long, thin, wide noodles. Eventually I will have to learn to make ravioli properly, but for now, what’s the point? Is there really such a big difference between eating pasta with sauce on the inside or sauce on the outside? The only difference seems to be the time it takes me to make it. With ravioli I end up spending way too much time shoving filling in and pushing air out of a little ravioli that really doesn’t appreciate being worked over so much. Besides, I really like big noodles and when I make my own, they can be as higgledy-piggledy as I want them to be and I can say they’re supposed to be like that.
Higgledy-Piggledy Pasta by Bri, (Adapted from The Husband)
2 cups all purpose flour
A pinch of salt
¾ tsp chipotle powder
A pinch of garlic powder
Enough water to make it all come together in a ball
Put everything in the food processor and pulse to combine. Add water slowly until the dough comes together in a ball. Let it roll around the food processor a couple times, then let it rest. I used lots of extra flour and my pasta maker to roll the dough out into thin sheets which I then cut into thick strips and hung up on the back of a chair while I made my sauce of Mexican chorizo sausage, onion, garlic, red pepper, tomatoes, shiitake, cremini and oyster mushrooms with a little beef broth and wine. I liked the addition of the chipotle pepper to the pasta, it complemented the chorizo nicely, (it also has chipotle in it). Winner!