The last ski resort for which we had access to has closed for the season here in Colorado. But the season isn’t done. At least not today it isn’t. It snowed at our house (along with rain, graupel, sleet, and sunshine) and I’m pretty sure the clouds dropped a few quick inches in the high country. From now until the start of the 2016-2017 ski season, it’s only backcountry skiing for us (skinning uphill and skiing down). Actually, we’ve been doing that exclusively since early April. Here’s what May looked like in our backyard last week.
skiing the powder before the sun turns it to slush
a nice 360° view was had
token selfie before skiing out
…aaaaand the snow is now mashed potatoes
Daytime temperatures soared well above freezing and the snow didn’t freeze overnight at higher elevations. Days like these leave us choosing between running wet, muddy, and patchy trails or skiing slop. We chose both. On our last ski tour, Neva was off leash the whole way down to the trailhead and she was incredibly good. She didn’t run off, she didn’t cross in front of our skis, and she always kept an eye on where Jeremy was (I bring up the rear in case little pup decides to run off).
neva takes a break between digging pits in the snow
skiing out under the hot sun
Jeremy took Neva on her first trail run last week, too. We’ve been slowly gauging how she takes to running on trails by running her for short distances (like 50-200 feet at a time) while we walk or hike. When she was a wee puppy, Neva would jump on your legs and try to bite your pants if you started running. That was (thankfully) short-lived. She did exceptionally well on her first real trail run (a short 5k) – cuing off of Jeremy’s pace, keeping a good distance so no one tripped, and responding to voice commands. So while Neva works up to longer distances, Jeremy and I are both concentrating on uphill climbs – because the prettiest runs are up high in the mountains and we want to be ready when they melt out.
racing a storm back to my house (i’m slow, but the storm was slower)
I regard this time of year as the uphill slog when days get longer and hotter. I don’t consider us to be over the hump until late July even though the summer solstice is in late June (it has to do with the thermal latency of the atmosphere – the same applies in winter). But there is plenty of good adventuring to be had in summer to tide us over until we can glide on snow once again.
Some of that adventuring will involve finding porcini and chanterelles in the forests. An easy meal preparation involving the mushrooms we forage is to sauté the mushrooms in butter and garlic, add white wine and cream, and serve it over pasta. My favorite pasta is pappardelle – wide elegant ribbons of pasta that hold sauces well and wrap around other ingredients. Unfortunately, I can’t buy pappardelle in our little town and I really try to limit my trips to Boulder to once a week. Mountain folk tend to be self-sufficient types and it occurred to me last summer that I knew how to make my own pasta for lasagne, so how different could it be from making my own pappardelle?
all you need: eggs, egg yolks, flour, fine semolina
beat the eggs and egg yolks
pulse the semolina and flour together in a food processor
add the egg mixture to the flour mixture while the processor is running
I have never owned a pasta machine and while the thought of getting the attachment for my stand mixer or even the hand-crank machine is tempting, I don’t make pasta often enough to justify yet another kitchen gadget. No, I actually enjoy rolling pasta out by hand. It’s one of those things that allows you to think and get your frustrations out simultaneously – like trail running, but much tastier. After a couple of times, you start to get a feel for the dough and its consistency, its thickness, its character.
knead the dough
it should feel silky
wrap in plastic and rest for 30 minutes
divide the dough into thirds
If you don’t want to roll your pasta out by hand, that’s totally okay! You can put this dough through your pasta machine (start on the thickest setting and then gradually work down to almost thinnest) and probably achieve more consistent results. I do think it’s worth trying by hand at least once. You might even enjoy it. When rolling the dough, roll away from you, then turn the dough 90 degrees, roll away from you, turn the dough 90 degrees, and repeat until the dough is thin. By thin, I’ve heard that it should be thin enough to read print through it.
roll out a third of the dough
i could read my recipe notes through the dough
slice the dough into 12-inch long sections (mine were longer)
roll the sheets up loosely
At this point, you can cut the pasta wide for pappardelle (about 3/4 inch wide) or less wide for tagliatelle (3/8 inch to 1/2 inch wide). You can also go thinner than these, but I’m working with the fat noodles here. Unravel each noodle and toss them in batches in some flour to keep them from sticking together. You can make the pasta early in the day and let them dry out before cooking the same day, or cook them right away. If you do set them out to dry, don’t bunch them together or they might stick and ruin all of your hard work.
slice into thick ribbons
toss with flour
ready to cook
The fresh pasta will take anywhere from 1-3 minutes to cook in a pot of boiling salted water, so be vigilant! Fresh pasta has a delicate flavor and bite. It is well suited for equally delicate sauces made with a cream or butter base as opposed to heavy meat-based sauces (use your dried pasta for that). The one exception I’ve read about and completely agree with is bolognese sauce, which is SUPERB with handmade fresh pappardelle. That said, handmade fresh pappardelle with freshly foraged chanterelles in cream sauce is nothing to sneer at. Fresh pasta is definitely worth making at least once if not always.
ribbons of fresh pappardelle
tangled with cream, garlic, and chanterelles
1 3/4 cups + 2 tbsps all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/3 cup fine semolina
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 egg yolks, room temperature
Place the flour and semolina in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times until mixed. Beat the eggs and egg yolks together in a measuring cup. While the food processor is running, pour the egg mixture into the flour. When the dough is moistened, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it for 3 minutes or until the texture is silky smooth. Wrap the dough ball in plastic and let it rest at room temperature for a half hour.
Unwrap the dough and cut it into thirds. Wrap two of the pieces in the plastic. Roll the third piece out on your floured surface, rolling AWAY from you. Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll away from yourself again. Continue until the dough is super thin (if you lay it over newspaper or a magazine, you should be able to read or at least see the text through the pasta). Cut the sheet of dough into 12-inch sections. Roll each section up and slice into 3/4-inch wide strips. Unroll the pasta, toss the strips with flour, and set them on a dusted baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough. You can make the pasta ahead of time and leave it uncovered at room temperature. Toss the pasta from time to time to encourage drying and to prevent clumping or sticking.
Makes 1 pound of fresh pasta. To cook, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta for 1-3 minutes (test for doneness). Drain and serve.
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|pappardelle with chanterelles||lasagne||bolognese sauce||butternut squash pasta sauce|