This past Monday, we were busy making those delicious Sweet Potato Parmesan Hammantaschen to bring down for the volunteers who work the check-in tables at our weekly downtown walk. So, we needed something quick and easy for dinner when we returned home. Naturally, we thought of pasta. That’s easy, and, if you use fresh pasta, it takes only minutes to cook up, too. So, we set about making a quick sauce that we could re-heat, then quickly worked out a pasta dough, but with a twist.
This time we’d make pasta dough with smoked paprika. Up until about two years ago, we’d never had smoked paprika. We knew about it, of course, but we just never bought it. That all changed when we stopped in a Penzey’s store. If you’ve never been to one, it’s like a supermarket of spices, herbs, and extracts. All at great prices, too. Plus, they have containers of all the spices that you can open and take a sniff. Well, we probably spent 30 minutes just smelling the spices, one of which happened to be smoked paprika. We bought it and never looked back. It is, hands down, one of our favorite ways of giving foods a nice smoky, savory taste. And, since then, Penzey’s is pretty much the only place where we buy spices. Please note, we only say that because it’s true. As you’ve come to expect here at Scratchin’ Central, we provide our 100% biased opinion without any outside influences.
Oh, we got the idea for adding smoked paprika from Mastering Pasta, by Marc Vetri.
We used all-purpose flour because we wanted the color of the paprika to show up nicely. For a heartier pasta, feel free to go with 1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour and 1/2 cup all-purpose. Smoked paprika: we find good prices at Penzey’s, although it still isn’t the cheapest spice in the drying house. But, it’s worth it. For the olive oil, we use extra-virgin, but, really, any light oil will work. Eggs: we love the ones that come from hens raised in the fresh outdoors, and we suggest that you try to find some from your neighbor, or a farmers’ market.
Procedure in detail:
This is really our basic pasta dough with smoked paprika added for flavor. No more, no less. Please look at that recipe for detailed instructions, but we do provide photos for the smoked paprika version, below.
That’s it for making fresh home-scratched pasta. It might seem as if it’s a bother, but we find that the total amount of time we spend mixing, kneading, rolling, cutting, and boiling is generally under 20 minutes, total. About the same time it takes to boil up some commercial pasta shapes. And, fresh pasta is so much better, too. Five stars, for a nice smoky, savory, pasta.