Home-Made Pasta with Ground Meat and Cream on a Caramel Red Wine Reduction.
Yes, I know it sounds fancy. Really, though, it isn't!
Yes, making a red wine reduction for a meal that you want to serve your kid seems odd and to some, questionable.
You see, the red wine is reduced and boiled so significantly, that there really is no alcohol left in it by the time the reduction makes it to a plate. Next, the amount of red wine reduction used for each serving is so tiny that, even if it still contained alcohol, I would not consider it worrisome. That's just me, though – you have to decide for yourself. What we are going for here is the taste of the fermented red grapes without the taste of alcohol. If you feel conflicted, you could try simple red grape juice – but I can't tell you what the result will be...
Overall, this is, in fact, a fairly simple dish that uses a few less common ingredients to arrive at a delightful and substantial meal. Not only do you get a lovely meal, but you get an incredible balance of flavors and textures that are sue to please just about any palate.
Yes, there is some work involved in making your own pasta – but it's not some crazy amount of work that confines you to the kitchen for hours. Rather, there's a bit of mixing and kneading, followed by a waiting period that allows you to prepare everything else.
Before you get started, let me tell you that it is helpful to have a pasta maker since rolling out your pasta to a consistent thickness will be a breeze. Even without one, though, this isn't a whole lot of work.
So, let's get started:
7 oz. All-Purpose Flour
Red Wine Reduction:
2 Tsp Sugar
1 ½ cups Red Wine
1 Tsp Butter
2 Tsp Olive Oil
¼ lb. Ground Round
¼ lb. Ground Pork
1 small onion, chopped
1 glove garlic, minced
¼ Napa Cabbage – or to your liking, chopped
1 Tsp Caraway Seeds
1 Tsp chopped fresh Tarragon
First, let's tackle the pasta since it needs to rest before it can be rolled out and cut into pieces...
In a mixer, combine the flour and eggs.
Add a few dashes of olive oil – but make sure the mixture doesn't get oily and mushy. Be sparing with the oil – it is easy to add some later on if need be. If you added to much, add a bit more flour. Also note that kneading the dough will eventually result in a soft and elastic consistency even if, at first, your mixture seem too dry.
To me, there is always an issue with getting the dough to integrate. Rather, I find that my mixer manages to create a less-than-thoroughly integrated ball of dough that leaves parts of the ingredients as crumbles on the bottom of the bowl. Perhaps it's just my mixer (a Kitchen Aid), but once some sort of mixing has happened, I take the ball of dough out.
To continue, I work the ball of dough by hand on a cutting board, making sure that I absorb all those little crumbles. I work the dough until it is elastic – about three to five minutes.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Caramel Red Wine Reduction:
This is easier than it sounds:
Add the sugar to a stainless steel sauce pan.
Place on stove and turn stove to medium high.
With a wooden spoon, constantly stir the sugar.
Soon, you will see the sugar liquify! Keep stirring until all the sugar is liquid.
The longer you heat the liquified sugar, the darker it will get. Don't let it get too dark – a nice amber shade is good.
Add the red wine.
There will be a lot of hissing and steam. You will also notice that the liquid sugar is now solid caramel.
Keep stirring over medium heat until the caramel integrates with the red wine.
Let simmer over medium until the volume is reduced to about 1/3.
Turn off heat.
Add salt and pepper. Stir.
Add butter. Stir.
Keep warm or simply reheat when it's time to use the red wine reduction.
Heat the olive oil over high heat in a big pot that can, eventually, accommodate the cabbage and the pasta.
Add the two meats and stir until the meat is at least gray but preferable a bit browned in several spots.
Add the onion and garlic. Stir.
Add the chopped cabbage and stir until it wilts a bit – the white cabbage parts will stay intact, though.
Add the caraway seeds and chopped tarragon. Stir.
Add salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Sir.
Add the cream.
You do not want to have a really liquid sauce. Rather, the end result should be moist but it the ingredients should not “swim” in cream. Of course, you can adjust the amount of cream to your liking...
Now that everything is prepared, it's time to finish the pasta.
First, bring a big pot of water to a boil.
Roll the dough through the pasta maker all the way down to the second thinnest setting. If you don't have a pasta maker, use a rolling pin and a surface coated in flour to create a thin layer of dough – roughly the thickness of a regular store-bought spaghetti.
Cut the dough into whatever shapes you want with a knife or a pasta cutting wheel or pasta cutter. I have a ravioli cutter that I press into the dough. Since the resulting shape is too big to easily eat, I cut it in half. Really, though, you can do with the dough whatever you want – random shapes work just as well as anything that resembles a regular shape. Just make sure the result can easily fit into a mouth...
After I cut each piece of pasta, I sprinkle a bit of flour on it to prevent the various pieces from sticking together.
Once I have cut up all my dough, I toss the pasta pieces into the boiling water.
Cook for about four minutes – fresh pasta cooks very quickly.
Add the drained pasta to the meat sauce and mix gently.
Serve and sprinkle each dish with the warm red wine reduction.