Fresh Rosemary Linguine with Caramelized Onions, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese
February 9, 2012
Last summer I was adamant that our house needed a pasta maker. Scott and I made gnocchi years ago, but I had still never made rolled pasta. For one reason (or many), I did not make the purchase: the pasta makers were more expensive than I imagined, our kitchen cabinets are full to the brim with an assortment of other cooking gear, it was sunny and I wanted to spend time swimming at the river with the kiddos instead of cooking. Anyhow, thanks to Caroline at Grow it, Cook it, Can it for giving me the little push I needed to tackle the pasta project. She is hosting Cook It! 2012, a month-by-month inspiration of sorts to tackle new challenges and try new techniques in the kitchen. This month: fresh pasta.
Originally when I signed onto the challenge, I intended to buy a pasta roller, but again, not wanting to shell out the money and feeling a bit like sticking it to the man- “I don’t need your stinkin’ pasta roller to make fresh pasta at home” I rolled it by hand instead. It was not easy. The pasta dough comes together much like a pastry dough. Beaten egg is poured into a seasoned flour, the trick is to keep moisten the dough just enough to make it come together, but not so much that the dough is wet, which would make the pasta stick together. After a knead and an hour or more to rest, my dryish dough was looking pretty good. It had a mild sheen to it and though firm, gave gently as I firmly pushed it into disc. My rebel spirit suffered as I rolled and rolled. This was seriously hard work, I broke a sweat. Perhaps a pasta roller does have a true purpose. After rolling and flipping and rolling and flipping the dough, I reduced it to an 1/8 of an inch thickness and called it good. Since the dough was still a little on the thick side, I opted to cut the pasta rather thin using a cutting board as a straight edge and a circular pizza cutter.
The recipe for Fresh Rosemary Linguine with Caramelized Onions, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese is adapted from The Greens Cookbook. The caramelized onions are incredibly flavorful thanks to the addition of sage, rosemary, and bay. I made a little extra and they tasted tremendous on an asparagus pizza. The toasty walnuts add a nice crunchy texture and I love how the blue cheese partially melts lending a creamy funk to the whole dish. Yum! This dish is pretty rich tasting, so small servings were perfect with a crisp salad and crisp wine. I will definitely be making more pasta in the coming months (hopefully with a pasta maker), but I am glad to know that it is possible to make a delicious dish without the purchase. You could also make this easily with purchased pasta, but then you miss out on your kids saying, ” Mom, you MADE the pasta?!?!? YUM!”
Fresh Rosemary Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese
adapted from The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison
serves 2 generously
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 tablespoons water (or a little more)
Mix the rosemary, flour, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. (A food processor works great here as well.) Beat the egg, gently. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the egg and oil slowly while mixing to incorporate. Add the water in the same way. Mix until dough begins to come together. This should look like a pastry dough at this point, where the dough sticks if you press it together. Add an additional tablespoon of water if necessary, but the drier the dough, the better the outcome will be and the less likely it will be to stick together after you roll it out. It will be much stiffer than your standard bread dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until the dough smooths out and forms a ball. (At this point, my dough still looked a bit ragged, but after resting looked smooth and shiny). Cover dough and let rest for one hour or more.
Roll out pasta using a pasta roller or a rolling pin and some super upper body strength. Cut into thin strips. Set aside.
the rest of the dish
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
2 large onions, quartered and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
freshly ground black pepper
1/4- 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (to taste)
Heat the butter and oil over medium-low heat in a wide pan. Add the rosemary, sage, and bay leaves. When the herbs are fragrant, add the onions and salt. Stir occasionally and cook slowly until the onions are deep golden brown. Add the garlic and wine. Raise the heat to medium and cook until the wine is reduced and syrupy. Add the water. Stir and let reduce slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn heat to low.
Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water to boiling. Add salt and the Fresh Rosemary Pasta (or purchased fresh pasta if you want to take a shortcut here). Cook pasta until al dente. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, scoop pasta from boiling water into the pan with the onion mixture. Add half the walnuts and the blue cheese. Toss gently to combine. Discard the bay leaf. Serve topped with the remaining walnuts.
This dish is rich, so plan on a crisp salad to go along with it.
Print this recipe: Fresh Rosemary Pasta with Caramelized Onions
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