Victor mentioned a couple of days ago that he wanted to make some fresh pasta. Any time he wants to make pasta, I’m eating. End of discussion.

We were watching Lidia last night and she made a dish with mushrooms and chestnuts that really looked good – except neither of us are really all that crazy about chestnuts. It’s more of a texture thing than anything else. I’ll eat them in something small, but for dinner?!? There are other things we both like better. We talked about what we could do to the dish, and we both said “fennel” simultaneously. It’s moments like that where we know we belong together!

And then Victor said he was cooking dinner, tonight!

He has the pasta-making down to a science. It’s just perfection. And the tagliatelle he made tonight really was perfection! It was light and delicate, yet perfectly firm.

The pasta recipe is very simple.

Fresh Pasta

  • 1 cup tipo ’00’ flour
  • 1/3 cup semolina flour
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp water – maybe

Mix flour, salt, and eggs in food processor until fully combined. Knead on a floured board until smooth, adding a drop or two of additional water, if needed.

Fresh pasta

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, and then roll out using pasta machine. You can roll this with a rolling pin, but a pasta roller is so much easier!

Fresh pasta

Lightly dust and then fold the pasta strips.

Fresh pasta

And then cut to desired width.

Fresh pasta

Unfold and place on a floured sheet pan.

Fresh pasta

Cook in boiling salted water for about 3 minutes. Then add to sauce and cook an additional 2 minutes.

The mushroom and fennel sauce was also something easy to put together.

Ragu di Funghi e Finocchio

adapted from Lidia Bastianich


  • olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb mixed mushrooms
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine


In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil and throw in the the garlic, then the shallots and fennel. Cook and stir until almost tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, thyme, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper. Cover, and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes.

Uncover, and increase the heat to reduce away the liquid in the pan, cooking about 2 minutes.

Make a space in the pan, and add the tomato paste. Cook and stir the paste in that spot until it toasts and darkens a shade or two, about 2 minutes, then stir into the mushrooms.

Add the wine and then about 2 cups pasta water. Simmer about 15 minutes and then uncover and increase heat to reduce the sauce, if necessary.

Add the pasta and stir and cook until the pasta is fully coated and cooked.

Serve with freshly grated pecorino.

This was one of those gastronomic heaven moments. Every single thing about this dish was right. The pasta was perfectly cooked, the mushrooms had a rich, meaty flavor, the fennel added a perfect sweetness in the background.

Victor cooked all of the pasta, thinking that half of it couldn’t possibly be enough. We now have dinner for tomorrow night – and we’ll put an egg on top!