Dinner Party

Last Friday of school. Last daycare day for the summer. My spouse is out of town = solo parenting with my two kids who are already geared up. Couple that with my neighbor children who are smack in the middle of a 2 week stint with grandparents as their parents are overseas for work. Grandparents live in a state that is more than a day’s drive away. I decide to take advantage of this and plan a “kids dinner party” (that’s how my kids were advertising it).

My friend Wendy, who is super wise, told me her daughter’s birthday party involved kids making pasta from scratch. Cue plan for dinner party here: I’ve made pasta lots and my neighbors like pasta.

Note: before you read farther and actually see the pictures of my home — remember kids dinner party on the last day of the work week when you’re husband is out of town and you have a lot on your plate does not mean clean like mad. It means run the dishwasher, stuff the mail in the in-box and roll with it. Our house is generally a bit disorderly by Friday, but it is usually clean. Orderly is just unrealistic for us with two working parents. We can do orderly, but then we sacrifice the important stuff like story time before bed.

Pasta is really not hard to make, although your experience might be enhanced by purchasing a pasta maker. We own this one, purchased for $39.99 at our local old-school hardware store (Marshall’s for the local folks).

Essentially a pasta roller works by sticking the dough between two rollers that you crank with a hand crank. It isn’t hard, I can’t imagine an electric one would be better than the old school kind.

Sometimes when you’re working with kids they do weird things, like pushups while they are waiting their turn. Run with it. Just make sure they wash hands between pushups and handling dough.

After working through it a few times, you might find you have a bossy kid who wants to take over. Sometimes you have a sweet neighbor kid who is also the oldest and the two oldest kids take over the process. Let them.

Other misc. stuff we have to help — our countertop with work space is a wooden countertop from Ikea. It doesn’t clean up dough very easily — I picked up a marble pastry board from a yard sale for a buck. If you have granite or similar countertops you won’t have any issues with rolling dough so this step is redundant. My marble board moves around a lot, so we have a piece of that plastic stuff you put under an area rug that we stick under the board.

You aren’t really rolling this dough if you use a machine, but I wanted to explain what we have on the counter in the pictures.

Recipe

2.75 c of flour – I used regular old white flour.
3 eggs
1tsp salt

1.In your stand mixer with a dough hook, put flour and salt. Add eggs and mix. My stuff didn’t come together well, so I added some white wine. (few tbs)

2. Knead dough for 8 to 12 minutes, until it is smooth and supple. Dust dough with flour. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and allow it to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. –> Don’t skip the sitting step.

3. Roll out dough with a pasta machine or a rolling pin to desired thickness. Cut into your favorite style of noodle or stuff with your favorite filling to make ravioli. Lay out on dishtowels on trays as you work with all the dough. At this point you can dry it, freeze it or cook it.

 

 

Cook pasta (just a few minutes,not the standard 8-10 minutes the box says), buy frozen meatballs and jarred red sauce. Serve pasta to children with a choice: red sauce or butter, meatballs or no.

Buy ice cream for dessert and pop in a movie. Three kids + one mom watch movie. One kid reads. Grandpa pops in to say they had a delightful dinner out at a restaurant serving local food. Finish movie. Send home 2 happy kids to 2 happy grandparents. Put 2 happy kids + 1 happy mom to bed. That’s a successful dinner party.

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  1. Judy Coleman
    June 4, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Kristin, you always have the greatest ideas!

    • June 4, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      It wasn’t truly my idea: Wendy had it first. But it was a good way to spend Friday night.

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