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Date Night In (with Pasta!)

Since getting married and moving into our first house this past year, Max and I have a TON of new kitchen gadgets just begging to be broken in. Case in point, our Philip’s Pasta Maker. Although we cook at home most nights, I can’t pretend that includes full on everything-made-from-scratch meals each week. Thus, our pasta maker remained unused since we unwrapped it. At a certain point, I just couldn’t take it staring me in the face every time I walked into my pantry, so I decided the perfect way to put this bad boy to use would be to make a date night out of it.

As far as date nights go, I’ll never say no to being wined and dined. I love getting dressed up (which, since I work from home, has been downgraded to mean putting on at least some makeup and real clothing) and going out to a new restaurant or an old favorite spot. But sometimes you just want to stay in, open a bottle of wine, put on some music, and make a giant mess of your kitchen together.

We decided we would have a three-course pasta tasting menu in order to put the machine to proper use. I picked three of my simplest (read: least messy) pasta sauce recipes, read the pasta making manual, popped some champagne, and set to work.

If you’ve ever made fresh pasta, you know it can be a tedious and messy process. Some say that’s part of the fun, I say bulls***. Part of the reason I wanted the pasta maker in the first place is so that we could make fresh pasta more often without having to roll, and knead, and flour, and cut, and dry. I knew the pasta maker would be easier, but I didn’t know just how much easier.

date night in

The machine does virtually all of the work with little to no mess. It tells you how much of each type of ingredient to add, kneads it for you, then spits out perfect homemade pasta. All you have to do is install the appropriate disc for the type of pasta you want to make. Since it was our first time using the machine, we opted for spaghetti and thick spaghetti in order to keep it simple. However, it comes with discs for angel hair, fettucine, lasagna, pappardelle, penne, and tagliatelle as well. The cleanup was pretty painless and while the pasta maker did its thing, we set to work prepping the sauce ingredients. My efficiency-loving heart was happy!

date night in

date night in

Homemade pasta sauces are more in my typical repertoire, so I had a few which I knew were super simple and only required a few ingredients – perfect on a night when we planned to make more than one! We chose to make tomato sauce, cacio e pepe, and lemon basil pesto. Click on the links for each individual sauce recipe! Honestly, they are all so easy you’ll probably judge me!

After setting the pasta aside, we finished prepping all of the sauce ingredients and started boiling water for the pasta as we did so. Since we wanted each course to be served hot, and since fresh pasta only takes 2-3 minutes to cook, we heated water in three separate pots and turned them down to warm once they reached boiling point, so they’d be ready to go when needed.

With all the ingredients prepped, we started cooking the sauce for our first course: spaghetti with tomato sauce. I know, I know, the originality gets me too.

Shortly before the sauce was ready, we boiled the first portion of pasta. Once the pasta was ready we combined the two, ET VOILÀ, our first course was ready!

date night in

After thoroughly enjoying our first course and a well-deserved glass of wine, we returned to the kitchen to prepare our second course: cacio e pepe with thick spaghetti.

date night in

date night in

Lather, rinse, repeat for course three (we’re pros at this point): lemon basil pesto with spaghetti.

date night in

date night in

date night in

We had so much fun learning to use our pasta maker together and it was the perfect summer date night in! I can tell the pasta maker will henceforth be put to good use. I also think this would be a super fun dinner party idea! I’m the type of person for whom the thought of someone else cooking in my kitchen gives me heart palpitations, but I’m told that less neurotic people are not bothered by such a thing. You could easily assign a course per couple and provide ingredients and instructions. You could also ask them to select a wine pairing for their dish and they could bring it with them the night-of!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and I hope it inspires you to create your own date night in – or, at the very least, to eat more pasta!

By Paces West

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