Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Taste of Italy


Last week was a super rainy week on Vancouver Island, including high winds.  It was a stay inside and drink tea kind of week.  Saturday we had to work all day to play catch up so Sunday was finally a day off and the sun came out! I cleaned the entire house and then we took a long walk with Buddy.  So many beautiful leaves here this time of year.  The picture above is a maple tree, we have the largest maple leaves in the world according to Guinness Book of Records.  Any time that record gets broken it is usually from somewhere else on Vancouver Island.

After our walk it was finally time to try out our new pasta making machine that we had bought for ourselves for our 12th Anniversary last month.  Hubby happened to be very sick that weekend so I made something else and we have been too busy since to set aside the time to use it.  It really doesn't take that long but since it was our first time there was a learning curve involved.  Suddenly after a few minutes of learning the machine hubby remembered doing the same with his mom, she apparently used a pasta machine to make perogie dough which we will also do at some later point, that is part of the reason why we bought it.  The other reason is we need to immerse ourselves all things Italy based on our travels there next Spring!



Although you can use regular flour we used this recipe and used half regular flour and half semolina flour which makes the pasta taste so much better.  The only place I could buy it at a reasonable cost was at Bulk Barn which was fine as I could buy just the amount I needed.  I also used olive oil instead of vegetable oil as no self-respecting Italian would use vegetable oil for pasta making (according to the leaflet that came with our Italian made pasta maker).  

 Really my only job was laying the pasta on the dampened towels - a bit of a fail.  We don't have a pasta dryer but if you intend on eating the pasta immediately it is not necessary, just lay it on damp towels - but be sure to separate each strand otherwise they stick together.  There was a bit of panic once we realized that I had screwed up but as soon as it hit the boiling water most of it separated, thank goodness, it was quite forgiving.  Fresh pasta only takes 1-3 minutes to cook so be sure to have any sauces/other ingredients handy to add to the finished product.  I used a premade Alfredo sauce and fried some shrimp ahead of time just heating them through when the pasta was ready.  It was fabulous!  I was so proud of us.  By the way, I am fully aware Alfredo sauce is not named that in Italy, it is called fettuccine burro e parmigiano (yes, I looked it up). 


Next time I will do a few things differently like make my own sauce but that was just too much for our first time of pasta making.  Also, I will use warmed to room temperature eggs which the recipe doesn't say but again the Italian booklet did (I read that after we made it).  I am glad we bought it and we will likely repeat this 6-10 times a year as it takes about 1 hour from start to finish.  You can premake the dough and let it sit for a half an hour before you get into making it.  The recipe made so much that we had fettuccine left over so we used it last night in our homeade chicken soup.  For anyone thinking of buying a pasta maker this one is made in Italy  - Marcato Atlas 150 and is available on Amazon.  We did alot of research and found that this was the best one in this price range and we are very happy with it.  It will not be something that sits on a shelf, it will get used here as we like eating good homemade food.  

After two years we finally got down to our last 1/2 inch of rice.  This after purchasing 40 lbs of it in September 2015 (blog post here).  This time I was able to get an 8 kg/17.6 pound bag for $10.88.  That is even cheaper per kg than last time at $1.36 a kilo versus $1.49 per kilo last time.  This is Thai Jasmine rice which is my favorite.  Yes, it is white rice which is supposed to not be as good as brown rice for you but frankly - I hate brown rice.  I have tried it several times and still hate it.  I love this Rooster brand rice, very tasty and keeps very well if stored properly.  


I am already over on the monthly food budget but have no further purchases to make unless an emergency and a full fridge and freezer.  Bargain of the week?  The rice and $1.49/pound grapes which are extremely tasty.  I have certain limits on things like fruit and veggies that I am willing to pay and $2 a pound is the usual maximum unless a special occasion so I rarely buy grapes - but lately our local store has put them on once per month for that amount. 

What grocery bargains have you had this month?

22 comments:

  1. Back in the last century when I was a poor catering student I had to demonstrate one of those pasta makers at a food show in London, I can't look at one now!!
    Its fruit and veg buying day tomorrow as we visit the market - last week it was 2 punnets of seedless grapes, two boxes of English strawberries, 6 oranges, 6 Conference pears, 6 Sharon fruit, 7 mixed capsicums, a big bag of red onions, 8 bananas, a bunch of fresh beetroot and a bag of new potatoes for £7. xxx

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    1. I had to google Capsicum (we call them bell peppers here), great deal on the fruit and veggies!

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  2. Your dinner looks delicious! I love fresh pasta and have considered getting a pasta maker so it was really nice to hear about your first time experience.
    I can eat short grain brown rice but not long grain, but Jasmine is my preferred type of white. I have never bought it in bulk since it seems like a 5 pound bag lasts forever here.

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    1. We eat a lot of rice, I make tons of stir fries and lately we've been eating fried rice a lot too. A true staple at my house. Seriously, if considering a pasta maker that is not a referral link, the machine is just easy to use

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  3. Your fettuccine looks great! Enjoy your new pasta making machine! Italians are good at everything. One can learn a lot from them.

    I don't like brown rice too; usually prefer the white type.

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    1. I keep trying brown rice but it just doesn't taste right for me.

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  4. That's an amazing price for grapes. I bought some today and they were at least a dollar more per pound. We don't use much rice so I buy smaller bags that last us several years. - Margy

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    1. It was Quality Foods $1.49 day, last month they had the same grapes on special on that $1.49 day too. They taste great too

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  5. Your finished plate looks beautiful. I had a friend in PA that had a pasta maker and we spent the day once making homemade ravioli. They were wonderful.

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    1. Ravioli would be good too, I think we need to do some experimenting

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  6. Replies
    1. It was really good, I hope you get to try making it one day

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  7. What a great looking dinner. I can you becoming one with all things Italian. Perhaps a gelato maker next?

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    1. I am all about eating the Gelato but not sure I want to make it, we do have a proper Gelato shop here in town (weird in such a small place) but I haven't gone yet as they shut down over winter. Likely I will have to wait to get to Italy to test some out

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  8. Way to go! Glad it was edible lol! One thing I purchased that I need to use more often is my spiralizer. I went to a workshop once and we spiralized several zucchinis, made an alfredo type sauce and I really enjoyed it. Since then I've only made vegetable pasta 3 or 4 times. I forget I have the machine! This week I've been making meals for two out of four chicken breasts - we'll have fajitas twice, then a stir fry on rice perhaps? Pasta maybe? The package of chicken was $10.00 so four meals means $2.50 per meal...not bad!

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    1. I wonder about spiralizers but frankly I hate zucchini except when made into something else like chocolate cake :) Well done on the chicken breasts, we eat lots of them too, funny how you can buy them so much cheaper than the whole chicken

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  9. We had a pasta maker just like that, but after making our own several times it became clear to me that buying fresh pasta from Mr. Olivieri is a serious time saver. The machine ended up in the garage sale. Have fun with it, especially making tortellini is fun.

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    1. I think that we too will still have storebought pasta in our cupboards and will pull this out for special dinners, that or we will learn how to freeze it properly

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  10. Your pasta making looks incredible. I have thought about it - and wimped out every time.
    I love the arboreal fireworks you opened the post with too. Autumn leaves are soooo beautiful. Thank you so much for your visit to my blog.

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    1. They do look like fireworks, don't they? I never noticed that

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  11. Mmmm to all of this, haha. Fresh made pasta will always take me back to childhood times in Italy. It was so delicious freshly made! Their "alfredo" sauce is a LOT lighter (I heard your name for it in the thick accent, haha). I much prefer authentic Italian to Italian American. Your finished dish looks delish!

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    1. I can't wait to get to taste real Italian food there, I love holidays where the food is good

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