Here we go! With COVID-19 putting a halt to most travel plans, we’ve decided to “travel” around the world in the comfort of our own home via culinary adventures! This is our 2nd “trip” this summer and this week we are going to Italy! We visited France last week and made the most delicious crepes. Read all about that experience here.
We’re making homemade pasta with a caramelized onion and red wine sauce (butter sauce for the kids), Bellinis, caprese salad, and more! Grab a glass of vino and kick back while we take you with us.
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While you’re here, don’t forget to download your free Italy printables! In your printables you’ll find:
- Fun facts about Italy you might not have known!
- A beautiful menu complete with ideas for antipasti (starters), an entree, desserts, and drinks
My husband has made pasta a couple of times before, but this was the first time we made it together as a family. It was also the first time we made it using the Kitchenaid pasta attachments, and we highly recommend you purchase these if you want to make pasta at home.
Very simple ingredients that you probably already have in your fridge and pantry! Flour, salt, garlic salt, eggs, and water.
Here’s our flour mixture after making a well for the eggs. You could also do this right on your countertop if you’d like.
We’ve separated the dough into a few smaller dough balls for easier kneading. The kneading takes some effort, so don’t be surprised at how difficult it becomes after a few minutes! Add a little more flour if your dough becomes too sticky to handle or gradually add a bit more water if it’s too dry. After creating the dough balls, we let the pasta rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
My husband throws a little flour down on the counter then rolls out the dough just flat enough to run through the pasta roller and cutter attachments. He has made pasta like this and cut with a knife into long fettuccini strips, but we’ve never been able to get a consistent thickness rolling by hand and frankly, it’s a LOT of work doing this without the mixer attachments.
These attachments are worth every dollar if you’re into making homemade pasta! Our set came with three; the roller (which makes your pasta evenly flat), a fettuccini noodle cutter, and a spaghetti noodle cutter. We prefer the fettuccine. Do NOT submerse your attachments in water! Ours came with a brush and scraper for cleaning and that is all that’s needed. Submersing them in water could damage them.
This was the second run through the roller. After each run through, you adjust the pasta roller down a notch to get the thickness you want. We went all the way to the thinnest notch.
Once our pasta was ready to run through the noodle cutter, we placed a bowl underneath to catch the raw noodles. This part of the experience is so satisfying!
We tossed our raw, cut noodles in a little more flour while we worked on the sauce. They tend to stick and clump together if we skip this step. When the sauce was done, we put the pasta in boiling water for maybe 3 minutes and it was done! We tossed it in olive oil to prevent it from sticking together before serving.
Bruno helped us get the sauce started by melting the butter. I just can’t get over how cute he is in his chef’s uniform! He’s been asking for a set like this since we started cooking more together and I found it on Amazon. It’s made of cotton and both the hat and apron washed and dried well. I washed it on cold and put into a regular heat cycle in the dryer with other kitchen linens.
The onions hissed at him pretty bad when he dumped them into the melted butter! He stepped away at this point but I can’t blame him. A pot full of red onion is pretty intense for a kid! We let our onions caramelize before adding red wine and other spices and herbs. We then tossed in some leftover rotisserie chicken we had from the night before.
It was SO delicious!!! The pasta (unsauced) is even good reheated the next day. The boys aren’t big sauce fans, so we tossed their noodles in a little tuscan herbed olive oil, salt, and butter. They said it was the best pasta they’ve ever had!
I tried my hand at making Bellinis but these peaches weren’t quite ripe enough. I like peaches really sweet and on the softer side. These were just too firm and the flavor wasn’t quite there. I’ll know next time to look for riper produce if using the same day!
I did drink a Bellini, but the Italian wine a friend recommended was better. We cooked our pasta sauce with Ca La Bionda Valpociella. It was pretty light for a red and was great in the sauce and nice for drinking. She also recommended Pinot Grigio for a white and we picked up one by Zenato. We haven’t broken into that one to taste it just yet, but I’ll update this post once we have.
A baguette from Independent Baking Co., our neighborhood bakery, was the perfect carrier for a Tuscan herbed olive oil I picked up from Olive Basket, which is a fantastic olive oil shop not too far from us.
I picked up a bottle of Pellegrino (the classic unflavored kind) as well as a 6-pack of the Limonata. The Limonata was a bit too sweet for us – a few sips is enough! I prefer a plain sparkling water and the kids went for regular water from the fridge. Bruno did ask for a Coke, but he takes a few sips and he’s done. Sometimes all you need is a little taste!
We also had a plate of Italian spicy salami, regular salami, prosciutto, olives, and cornichons (pronounced “KOR-nee-shons”), which are basically tiny pickles. This was all way too much food for one meal, but we’re wanting these “visits” to other countries to include a variety of things for the boys to try, or at least be exposed to. We also want all the work we put into these meals to last beyond just the one sit-down. My husband and I have no problem eating leftovers through the week. The bread pictured here makes an excellent Bruschetta! I bought a couple of different jams (a peppery option and a sweet option) so we can top the Bruschetta along with some salami or prosciutto and cheese over the next few days.
Caprese salad is one of my favorite dishes! Trader Joe’s has a basic balsamic glaze that tastes really good. I topped our salad with the herbed olive oil and the glaze and it was absolute perfection on a plate! I had Caprese for lunch the next day.
Thanks so much for following along on our Italian adventure! I hope you enjoyed seeing these photos and I hope you downloaded your facts sheet at the beginning of this post so you can learn a few things about Italy along with us! Let me know if you try the pasta recipe below or if there’s a particular country you’d like for us to visit. We plan to “travel” to many more places!
Cin cin! – Hannah
- Stand mixer
- Pasta roller & cutter attachments
- Rolling Pin
- 3 cups all purpose flour, plus some for dusting
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 2 tbsp water, or as needed
- Pour all but 1/4 cup flour into a large, shallow bowl and make a well.
- Crack eggs into well and mix flour and oil together with a fork or your hands.
- Stir in oil and both salts into the mixture, gradually adding water and remaining flour until dough comes together.
- Knead dough until it is soft and elastic.
- Transfer dough into a lightly oiled bowl and lest rest for 30 minutes. Separate dough into 4 or 5 dough balls for easier rolling in the next step.
- Lightly flour a countertop and roll dough balls out just enough to fit into thickest pasta roller attachment on your stand mixer. Feed dough through adjusting thickness each time you pass the dough through to your preference. We started with the largest setting and moved all the way down to the thinnest. We then cut our rolled pasta sheets in half so the noodles weren't too long and difficult to handle.
- Feed rolled pasta sheets through the pasta cutter attachment on your stand mixer. We tossed each batch in a little more flour so they wouldn't clump together while waiting to be cooked.
- Boil water in a large pot and drop noodles in for three minutes. We cooked in a couple of batches and oiled the drained pasta with a Tuscan olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together.