5 Hearty Fall Pasta Recipes (and the Tools You Need to Make Them)
Photo: jules:stonesoup/Creative Commons
From-scratch pasta is a little like fresh, homemade bread: If you take the time to make it, your guests won't even pay attention to the rest of the meal. But fresh pasta is also a lot less time-consuming than it sounds -- especially when you have the right tools.
Try one of these hearty fall pastas -- served with fresh herbs or butternut squash, walnut pesto or pumpkin-based dough -- made with your own two hands (and, in some cases, a pasta machine attachment) and you'll have a flavorful dish that makes for a memorable meal.
1. Angel Hair Pasta with Herbs
If you've gone to all the trouble of making your own fresh pasta, then a light, fragrant blends of herbs and spices will help you focus on the taste, flavor, and texture of the angel hair without overpowering it with a heavy sauce.
Here, fresh parsley and basil mixed with olive oil, black pepper, and grated Parmesan cheese let the noodles take center stage.
The Tools: Since most pasta makers are designed to make flat sheets of dough, you'll need an angel hair attachment for your hand-cranked or motorized pasta maker to get the long strings of capellini.
2. Fusilli with Walnut Pesto, Eggplant, and Butternut SquashPhoto: VirtualErn/Creative Commons
Rich fall flavors -- walnuts, eggplant, butternut squash -- come together in this chunky, vegetable-rich sauce, seasoned with basil leaves, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. The twisty fusilli shapes let you gather up every last bit of the walnut pesto in the corkscrew ridges.
The Tools: The Kitchenaid Pasta Press attaches to the company's stand mixer to give your pasta an extra push -- making the shorter pastas (tubes, elbows, twists) a breeze.
3. Pumpkin GnocchiPhoto: Charles Haynes/Creative Commons
Serve up this pumpkin gnocchi to keep your vegetarian relatives happy at Thanksgiving -- and to maybe convert some of your turkey-loving uncles, too -- without adding too much work to your holiday routine. The simple recipe, a mix of pureed pumpkin, butter, egg yolk, flour, salt, and pepper, pairs well with a rich Gorgonzola sauce (which is equally simple).
The Tools: You don't need a machine for these pumpkin-based pillows: You can mix the dough by hand, roll it into an inch-wide cylinder, cut it, and make the telltale ridges using the back of a fork. Keep in mind, the less you handle the dough, the better it will taste in the end.
4. Ravioli with Wild MushroomsPhoto: fred_v/Creative Commons
This recipe for ravioli with mushrooms from Emeril Green is not exactly low-maintenance -- you'll need to make the pasta sheets, the mushroom filling, the stuffed ravioli squares, mushroom broth, and mushroom topping -- but it is a warm and comforting meal for fall.
The Tools: For ravioli, you'll want to use both your standard pasta machine and your own two hands. The machine will help you roll out thin, even sheets of pasta; then you'll lay out the filling, add another sheet of pasta, seal the edges, and cut out the finished shape with a cookie cutter.
5. Linguine with ClamsPhoto: arnold | inuyaki/Creative Commons
Wide, flat strips of fresh linguine are highlighted with tender, juicy clams in this classic linguine and clams recipe: You'll cook the clams in a blend of olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, and white wine so they complement -- not overpower -- the pasta.
The Tools: You can get a linguine attachment to add to your machine, but this is another pasta you can make with a little elbow grease: Just roll out the pasta sheets and cut them into strips.