Friday, January 2, 2009
2009. A year that promises big things for me. One of which, probably the most important, will be my wedding. After 8 years together, L and I are taking the plunge on a summer Sunday in an outdoor chapel in the bayside park where we spent our first day together and had that first, surreal, cinematic kiss. He knows me well, and the proposal came at my favorite time of year, renewing and emphasizing what is so special about the holiday season, surrounded by family and great food.
So it was hard to choose a dish that was worthy of such an announcement. In the end, it came down to something that represents our lives so well. This is classic us, simple but perfect, unpretentious,a little polish, a little hungarian, heart-warming, clean yet resounding flavor. It's made even better with homemade noodles, brought to you via my mom's christmas gift of KitchenAid pasta rollers and cutters.
This may seem less glamorous than other celebratory foods, caviar with smears of sauce or flashy meticulous layer cakes. But anywhere I've brought this, tucked into microwaveable containers for a hearty lunch, the tantalizing smell causes bystanders to beg for the recipe. I only hope it won't be disappointing in its simplicity and ease of preparation. Making your own noodles is of course optional, but so worth the extra 20 minutes. And I hope you, as everyone else I've shared this with, will return with rave reviews.
Cabbage and Noodles
fresh or homemade egg noodles, cut into fettucine according to manufacturer directions
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium sweet onion, sliced
1 medium head savoy cabbage, shredded with thick parts and core removed
2 Tbsp caraway seeds
1/2 cup white wine vinegar (use the good stuff- here it really matters!)
12 oz ham steak, (precooked) cubed (this is also delicious with sweet turkey or pork italian sausage or brats)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
Put the pasta water on to boil.
Meanwhile, melt the first 3 Tbsp of butter in a nonstick pan and saute the onion until softened. Add cabbage, reduce heat to medium-low and cover, stirring occasionally, until cabbage cooks down in volume and softens. About halfway through add vinegar and caraway and stir well. Meanwhile cook and drain pasta. When cabbage is tender, add ham and remaining butter and warm through. Toss with pasta. Adjust seasonings and vinegar to taste and serve hot.
Homemade Egg Noodles - modified from the recipe that ships with KitchenAid attachments
4 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 Tbsp water
1 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on lowest speed until combined, then increase speed to 2 and knead for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to come together. Knead by hand for 2 minutes, then split into 8 pieces and flatten into 4-5 inch squares.
Roll out dough according to manufacturer directions. I like to roll it to a thickness of setting 5. Cut into fettucine by hand or with an attachment. Try to keep noodles separated because they want to stick together. To cook, place in heavily salted boiling water about 2 minutes. Noodles should float to the top of the pot.