No Excuses, No Apologies


No Excuses, No Apologies: Pasta Ribbons with Tapenade and Peppers

I apologize a lot during the day.  Example?  “Sorry sweetie, you can’t play video games all day long, you know that…Sorry darling, you still can’t play with the outlets….Sorry, but you have to go to the dentist…sorry, no whining, no excuses.  Sorry, you have to wear pants.”  One thing I love about blogging is that it’s best done without excuses or apologies.  I’ll be honest, though.  I don’t have the best, well stocked, kitchen.  I don’t have a pasta roller or cutter.  I don’t have a food processor.  I don’t have a food scale, though I know I should and will soon.  My rolling-pin literally just broke.  The handle snapped right off of it.  It was 10 years old and cheap to begin with, so I was relieved to have an excuse for a new one.  I used a wooden ruler to measure the width of my pasta and it still came out kind of  craggy because I’m generally not that keen of eye nor hand.

I’m fairly inefficient in general and I always lose things.  But, when I cook something, I make absolutely no excuses.  If it sucks, I will not give you a list of reasons why I couldn’t make it work, or couldn’t make it perfect.  I will not go on and on about how it will turn out better next time, though that is my initial instinct.  If it sucks, I make it good.  I either make it good right then, or I trash it and do it again, if all else fails.  You can always start over.

I made this pasta.  It was the first time I had ever made pasta from scratch, by hand.  It was surprisingly easy for me and I’m definitely not a culinary genius, I promise you.  The sauce is garlic and olive confit, that’s been blended with an immersion blender (I use it all the time, and it’s totally worth the thirty bucks, if you ask me) and then married with butter, tomato sauce and oregano, topped with parmigiano-reggiano and diced raw green peppers.  It’s made entirely from scratch by me, who’s generally kind of clumsy and doesn’t have a buffet of kitchen gadgets.

I kneaded the pasta dough, I rolled it out (hopefully your rolling-pin won’t break like mine did.  I had to MacGyver it back together to make do.  I’ll get a new one next week, don’t worry).  Then I cut it using a simple pizza cutter and let it hang to dry over a wooden spoon balanced between the two sides of a large pot. I put some garlic and some olives in some olive oil and let it sit over very low heat.  Simple enough.  Then I used my handy immersion blender to make a tapenade out of it (including the olive oil because who could waste such a beautiful thing).

Then I boiled the pasta and grabbed some crushed tomatoes, salt and pepper and dried oregano and a little pinch of sugar..added those in.

Easy?  Yes.  You officially have no excuses.  Why?  Because if I can do it, anybody can.  I promise you that.  And, if it doesn’t work out, don’t make any apologies, just make it work or do it again so it’s good.  You’ll be happy you did.

Pasta Ribbons

(serves two, multiply as necessary)

  • 200 grams (approximately two cups) of flour (Type 00, preferably) plus more for dusting
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of water (optional, if needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional) plus 3 tbs. (for the pot of water)
  • 7 liters (or slightly less than 2 gallons) of water

On a clean surface, sift flour and salt to create a mound of dry ingredients.  Create a well in the center of the flour with the back of your hand/fist.  Pour eggs into well.

Using your hands take a little of the flour and mix it with the eggs, repeat until all of the flour is mixed with the eggs and a stiff dough ball forms. Add water if necessary and knead on floured surface for fifteen minutes.  Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 2 hours in a warm, dark place (between clean blankets or dish cloths).

Lightly flour clean work surface and roll dough out until it reaches desired thinness (or use a pasta machine, if you prefer), slice into ribbons of desired thickness. Let ribbons dry for an hour before boiling.  Bring  water to boil. Salt the water to taste (approximately 3 tablespoons is what I used).

Drop pasta into salted, boiling water, move pasta around in water, gently (I used the back end of a wooden spoon), to make sure it doesn’t stick together.  Let the pasta cook in the boiling water for approximately 2 minutes or until desired tenderness is reached.  Drain pasta.

Pour cooked pasta into tapenade (or other sauce of choice) and fold the sauce together with the fresh, cooked pasta.  Garnish with parmesan and fresh herbs or vegetables of choice.

Tapenade (Olive, garlic and tomato)

(serves two, multiply as necessary)
  • 20 Kalamata olives (from jar)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large, peeled garlic cloves
  • pinch of salt (plus additional to taste)
  • pinch of cracked black pepper
  • pinch of dry oregano
  • 6 tablespoons crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • pinch of sugar (optional)

In small saucepan, place 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, garlic, olives and a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper over very low heat.  Let the oil warm for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally (light, small bubbles should form around the garlic cloves throughout cooking).  Blend well with immersion blender.  Add crushed tomatoes, oregano and butter. Taste and add a small pinch of sugar, if you feel it needs it.   Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste (if needed).  Combine with fresh, hot, cooked (al dente) pasta, or spread over warm crusty bread.

Note: Goes wonderfully with bell peppers, in my opinion.

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22 Responses to No Excuses, No Apologies

  1. Your pasta looks fantastic! And what a lovely sauce, I am crazy for tapenades :)

  2. Your first homemade pasta looks amazing! I am actually thinking about licking off some of that tapenade… that sounds crazy delicious!!

  3. Connie says:

    Beautiful job! I admire you making it completely by hand (I’ve been too spoiled with industrial rollers at restaurants, sadly). Love the sauce here too, sounds perfect!

  4. Great post. I made do without fill-in-the-blank kitchen gadget for a lot of years! I think it makes you a more confident cook when you have to do stuff the hard way. But now that I have a 14 cup food processor, I don’t know how I could live without it. I do still measure everything with a floppy vinyl ruler from the local bank one of my kids got for free.

  5. I saw this today on the foodbuzz Top 9! It looks amazing. Homemade pasta is always the best. I might just be inspired to make my own! Or maybe I’ll just stay here and drool over yours for a while longer… :)

    • Aw, you’re so sweet! I didn’t make it to the Top 9,today.. but the fact that you thought I did….is pretty sweet (I admit). I’ll take it! Kind of like a “thanks for participating” award. hahah! I appreciate the comment. BTW, I <3 your site! Really really!

  6. Stacey Rider says:

    Ah you don’t need any excuses for your great blogging skills and recipe creations… great job Kate… looks fantastic.

  7. deliciously done I like the sauce looks wonderful

  8. Tiffany says:

    Haha! I loved this post! I do not have a bunch of kitchen gadgets either! Mainly because I have a matchbox sized kitchen. I have efficiently used every ounce of space … and that just means that I often make many dishes ‘the hard way.’ But they still taste good… so who cares, right? :D. Congrats on making pasta for the first time. It’s beautiful and I love the sound of your sauce!

  9. I am so glad I found your blog! :) I am impressed that you made your own pasta… I always made the excuse of not having access to 00 flour and a pasta maker… I think you’ve inspired me to give it a try! After all, I have a good rolling pin, a pizza cutter and a wooden spoon! No excuses :) Thanks for sharing, Kate!

  10. Pasta Ribbons- love the name. I admit I have a couple of pasta machines. But, I hardley use them.

  11. Apron Appeal says:

    but I like excuses….I like to make them. Actually that’s not true…I like explanations. If something isn’t right, I like to explain why it isn’t right – not to justify why it’s crapy but to teach others so that just in case I make the same mistake twice and miss the error on the second run, someone else will be able to point it out. I’ve noticed that my taste testers (aka my family) they don’t care, the mistakes don’t aren’t generally that bad…they just want to eat.

  12. I need more of you in my life! lol

  13. melissa says:

    That looks wonderful! You have also inspired me to try and make pasta.

  14. Erin says:

    It has been a really long time since I have made homemade pasta. I just might have to think about doing it again, with how simple you made it sound!

  15. sharizat says:

    oh PASTA mia! you know, i love my immersion blender and i love it, too! but regarding handmade pasta, i make excuse that i don’t have a pasta machine. now that i’ve seen your post, i shouldn’t use this excuse! thanks for inspiration, Kate!


  16. Chef Dennis says:

    simply amazing, I can eat pasta anytime day or night and I would love to sample that wonderful homemade pasta and that delicious sauce!!

    After all those examples at the beginning of the post, I was waiting for you to say that was just your husband and the kids were even worse!!

  17. Carolyn says:

    I lived for a long time without a food processor, but when my husband bought me one for Christmas, it came in handy. Now I can’t quite imagine life without it! Your pasta looks terrific, it’s hard to imagine you made it with a broken rolling pin.

  18. Congrats on your first homemade pasta! Adam lived in Italy for many many years so imagine how intimidate I felt when I first tried it, but it’s not that hard after all. I love love love the garlic and olive sauce, just yummy, and you’re right about the immersion blender use it all the time.

  19. So impressed with your cooking dedication! This looks fabulous! And I’m with you…I don’t have the most well-stocked kitchen, either.

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