I can't believe that in three weeks we had a new baby, the 'old' baby was sick for five days, my sister finally formalised her divorce, the new baby caught and recovered from bronchiolitis, my mother finally booked in for serious surgery, my oldest son flew to Finland for another three weeks work and the weather turned cold again. I think I did some work as well. Also, they ran the Melbourne Cup. A horse won.
So there hasn't been a lot of posting of actual recipes. Let's resume with a good one.
I don't know why home-made pasta frightens some people. It's not that hard. Quite frankly, when you've done this a few times, it's easier than putting together a Sunday roast.
Make the pasta.
First we will make three sheets of pasta, each of a different colour. Each will take a cup of plain flour, half a teaspoon of salt and an egg. For the green pasta, add two tablespoons of leaves - rocket, spinach, basil, whatever you have. For the yellow, half a teaspoon of saffron dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water. For the red, a tablespoon of tomato paste or some pureed baked red capsicum. Mound the flour and salt in each case, place the egg and colouring agent in the middle and knead into three doughs, adding water or flour if necessary. Wrap and rest for thirty minutes. (Not you, the pasta.)
While it's resting, do the stuffing. See below.
Roll the pasta out into thin sheets. Use a machine if you have one. We don't have one. We have a rolling pin. It works a treat. Cut the sheets into strips a couple of inches wide.
Prepare the stuffing.
Gently fry a chopped onion in olive oil for a few minutes. Add half a kilogram of chopped veal and a few leaves of sage and a few of oregano. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Brown and then add half a cup of white wine. (Something drinkable but don't waste your money. A Dan Murphy cleanskin is ideal and will be good enough to drink the rest with the meal. Or even while you cook it. If you prefer a branded wine, try the De Bortoli Chardonnay Semillon. At $4.99 it's a steal.)
Where were we? Oh, yes: simmer the meat for twenty minutes. Now take out the sage and oregano and add a little minced thyme. (It's not that you're changing your mind about the herbs, it's just that the flavours do a kind of interchange-bench swap, like resting a full-forward after he's kicked a goal.)
Now process the meat and juices to form a paste. Fold through this 250 grams of fresh ricotta, an egg and a quarter cup of cheese. You can use Parmigiano Reggiano if you're throwing money away this week, but the Perfect brand or any substitute is just fine.
Pipe the mixture onto the sheets of pasta and roll them up into cylinders. Cut them diagonally.
Make the sauce.
Melt two tablesoons of butter in a pan and add a quarter cup of flour, whisking: and then add two cups of hot milk and half a teaspoon of salt. Whisk, whisk. Bring to boil, them simmer low until it thickens.
Bake the pasta.
Spread some of the sauce on the bottom of a baking dish, arrange the stuffed pasta cylinders in the dish radially - like the rising sun, except it's multi-coloured - top with the rest of the sauce then a further two tablespoons of melted butter and a further cupful of Parmigiano, grated. Bake for half an hour in a pre-heated oven at about 180 celsius.
Is there any wine left? I might open another bottle, then.