One of my favourite things is inviting my Nanna over for a long weekend lunch. She was one of my first influences when it came to cooking when I was very young and it seems only fitting to return the favour now. It just so happened I had her pasta maker on an extended loan. I have made fresh pasta before, during a Daring Bakers challenge but this weekend I decided to try making homemade fettuccine for the first time, for something a little bit special.
I served it with a Slow Cooked Veal Shank sauce, dolloped with freshly made emerald green pesto and lots of grated Parmesan. The recipe for the pasta sauce, from the recent Winter issue of Donna Hay Magazine originally called for lamb shanks, but the butcher I visited said they had to be ordered in and would take three weeks to arrive, so I decided to try the recipe with veal shanks instead. I’m happy to say it worked wonderfully and tasted absolutely delicious. Simmering the veal shanks for two hours means the meat just falls off the bone, it is incredibly tender and just perfect.
Making pasta from scratch is time consuming, yes, but not that difficult if you have a pasta machine. I made the dough by hand, but you could also use your food processor. I found it a bit difficult to keep the lengths of the pasta sheets consistent, but luckily you couldn’t tell at all when it was cooked. Make sure to flour everything well or the pasta will stick to the benchtop, your hands, the pasta machine and the fettuccine will definitely stick to each other.
Nanna approved, happy to see her pasta maker being put to good use. It was a very rewarding meal to make – the best kind I think. Not only can you feel good about making something completely from scratch, but it tastes absolutely delicious.
Slow Cooked Veal Shank Pasta with Pesto
Recipe adapted from Donna Hay Magazine
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1.2kg veal shanks
• 1 brown onion, diced
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 cup red wine
• 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
• 6 sprigs, thyme
• 1 cup water
• Sea salt & black pepper
• 3 cups basil leaves
• ½ cup olive oil
• 1/3 cup Parmesan, grated
• Sea salt & black pepper
1. To make the pesto, place the basil, oil, Parmesan, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Process until well combined. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add the veal and cook for 1-2 minutes each side or until browned. Set aside.
3. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes or until softened. Add the wine, tomato, thyme and water and stir to combine. Add the veal back to the pan and bring to the boil.
4. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours or until the veal is tender and falling off the bone. Remove from the pan, and shred the meat from the bones, discarding the bones.
5. Cook the fresh pasta for about 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and return to the pan. Add the veal sauce and toss to combine. Spoon over the pesto to serve.
Recipe adapted from Good Taste
• 2 ½ cups plain flour
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 4 eggs, at room temperature
• Plain flour, extra, for dusting
1. Sift the flour and salt together onto a clean work surface. Use your hands to shape the flour into a circular mound. Make a well in the center. Place eggs in the well and use a fork to lightly whisk, and then using the fork, bring in flour from the edges of the well and incorporate them into the egg, until the mixture forms a dough.
2. Lightly flour your work surface and firmly knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 4 and cover with a damp tea towel to rest for 10 minutes.
3. Attach a pasta machine to the side of a work bench and adjust the machine’s rollers to the widest setting. Take one portion of the dough and dust with flour, and flatten with your hands into a rectangle shape. Feed through the rollers, then adjust to the second widest setting, and feed through again, repeating until dough is about 1mm thick.
4. Feed through the fettuccine attachment, or cut by hand into the desired width.