Tonight's dinner could not have been more of a success, and I'm not just saying that because it was my vision and turned out as great as I imagined.
First, we finally conquered our pasta machine. Normally when we decide to make our own pasta, by the time we sit down to eat it we are on the verge of hating each other because things don't go smoothly, and I don't handle that very well (which is probably one reason I shy away from being in charge in the kitchen). But today was different - the dough co-operated, didn't stick to itself, and rolled smoothly and easily through the cutter...these noodles were beautiful, if I do say so myself. We even managed to figure out the perfect way to roll out pasta sheets without requiring 14 extra hands.
All of this good rolling and cutting was entirely due to getting the dough right. I am the one who makes the pasta dough, and I really like (and need!) to follow directions when I'm in the kitchen (let's call this the second reason I am not a very good cook). So when it says 2/3 cups of water, I add 2/3 cups of water. Of course the recipe then goes on to say "if the dough is too wet..." and "if the dough is too dry...", but naturally there is no explanation of how I would know if the dough is too wet or too dry! HOW WET IS TOO WET???? HOW DRY IS TOO DRY??? But today I took a chance and didn't add in all the water. The result was the soft, moist, but not sticky dough that was a pleasure to work with. (Okay, so we made ONE LITTLE MISTAKE of putting the cut noodles in a bowl while we prepared the rest of the ingredients, and that's when they kind of lumped together, but whatever, the pasta was salvaged and tasted great so I don't even consider that a fail on any level - I'm clearly still high off the "good pasta rolling and cutting" experience).
Some specific points on the two star ingredients, brussel sprouts and salami:
1) shredding the brussel sprouts (really just a julienne cut) was as good as I imagined it would be. In fact, if the pasta could have used anything it was more brussel sprouts
2) the salami we used was one that had an edible "natural mold" on the outside, similar to the rind on brie (it actually kind of smelled like brie, which was a bit confusing). I am a huge fan of strong, earthy flavors, and this added something so wonderful to the salami that it's amazing we had any left to use in the pasta.
There. I said it. I love brussel sprouts and moldy salami.
Home-made fettuccine with sauteed brussel sprouts, salami, garlic, and red onion with a gruyere and parmesean cream sauce