Of Pans and Pasta

In his last post, Jeremy put the onus on me to update you about a few more things we’ve been up to in quiet Salem. I have a feeling he mostly meant for cooking updates, but I am going to sneak in a big ol’ knitting post too (heh heh!–oh wait, that wasn’t very surreptitious…).

We’re now the proud owners of two stainless steel All-Clad pans: a 10” fry pan and a 3.5 quart sauté pan/braiser with a domed lid. We started out with the fry pan, and have been very happy with it, but I think we will have to keep a non-stick skillet to make things like eggs and pan-fried chard-onion-gruyere panade. Then, over Labor Day weekend, we were at the mall to see a movie, and stopped in Meier and Frank (now Macy’s, but I don’t know if I can accept that just yet) to see what might be on sale. We found a beautiful 3.5 quart sauté pan with a domed lid for under $100 for some unknown reason (the 3 quart with a flat lid was $185); to make a short story shorter, it followed us home, along with a red silicone handle cover, for when I want to finish a dish off in the oven. I’ve only used it once so far, to sauté vegetables for the aforementioned panade, but it performed admirably. And for the sake of full disclosure, I must tell you that as soon payday rolled around, we ordered a rack from which to hang our lovely shiny new cookware, so that it won’t be sullied by too much close association with our other pots and pans in the drawer under the oven.

We have a few other new additions to the kitchen as well, such as a red Le Creuset stoneware gratin dish and a Lodge cast iron skillet, the latter of which I have been dutifully seasoning with platefuls of bacon and fried zucchini strips. But the real prize is the one that arrived last night, and which we have been looking forward to getting for the past year or so: a pasta-maker attachment for our stand mixer. Jeremy immediately tried it out with a batch of play-dough (just flour and water, to clean any residual grease or debris from the rollers), and then set about making our first real batch of fresh pasta, a simple egg fettuccine from Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, which we just so happened to pick up from the library at lunch. While he gleefully slid the dough through the rollers and cutters, I made a quick batch of creamed chard ribs, a recipe we’ve enjoyed before, to sauce the noodles.

To conclude, between our new pasta-maker, Marcella, and Lidia Bastianich (whose book Lidia’s Family Table we have already renewed at the library once), there’s a heckuva lot of Italian food in our future. And since I picked up a bagful of gorgeous cranberry beans (or “French horticultural beans,” as they were labeled), I think we’ll start with some pasta e fagioli.

Next up, a knitting post if I ever remember to take photos, and Jeremy has some news to share as well.

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