There is something extremely satisfying about making your own pasta. I find it calming and relaxing. in the past I have made my own ravioli with my hand crank pasta roller. That has been the extent of my pasta making and I have loved it. I have toyed around with the idea of buying one of those fancy pasta machines that allows you to make all the different shapes of pasta but in the end it never really seems worth it. I was kind of stuck making papperadelle and ravioli because I could do them on my hand cranked machine. Then I read Hank Shaw's post about great pasta books. One of the books was a book by Jenn Louis called Pasta by Hand. In this book it gives you the recipes and techniques for making a couple dozen different types of pasta with nothing more than you bare hands, I was sold.
I immediately ordered the book and as soon as it came I started making pasta. The very first recipe I picked out was for this Cazzallitti with elk ragu. In the book she offers up a few different options for sauces to serve with each type of pasta. The Cazzallitti was recommended with a lamb ragu. I just happened to have this elk shank in my freezer and decided to use it instead. The recipes from the book are amazingly simple and don't require any special equipment. I have had my book for about 3 weeks now and my family has been eating fresh pasta about twice a week. The Stinging Nettle Gnocchi and the beet gnocchi with Gorgonzola cream sauce were both big hits.
I have been amazed at how quickly I can knock out a batch of gnocchi. My 3 year old son loves to help roll out the gnocchi, I usually cut out all the pieces and he rolls them down a gnocchi board to give them their little lines. I wouldn't usually write an entire post about someone else's recipes and a book but I really think this one is special. If you love pasta it is a must have book.