This post wasn’t going to happen because it wasn’t a full success… But how else can we learn? And the lamb (which was good) was very very good! But the egg fettuccini was horrid!
Dan’s brother Dave was visiting from Texas so he came out for dinner with their parents. We were pretty excited to be hosting a dinner party with all our Christmas decorations up.
We had a beautiful leg of lamb from our Five Marys Farm box so built the menu around that. Looking through options online I came across a recipe for fettuccine with mint sauce to seve with lamb. It seemed like a perfect choice since Scarlet loves to make homemade pasta. It would be fun to be rolling and cutting pasta dough with everybody while the lamb was cooking. I found recipes for egg and spinach fettuccini online and headed to Whole Foods for all the ingredients. We decided to serve it with a simple salad and creme brûlée for dessert.
On the day of I set up a big cheese platter and pulled the lamb out to temper for an hour. Dan trimmed the fell (tough layer of fat) from the meat and I pricked it all over with the point of a filet knife. Then made a rub of olive oil, mustard, chopped rosemary and garlic. I rubbed the lamb all over with the poultice being sure to work it into the knife pricks, seasoned it with salt and pepper and placed it in a roasting pan on a rack with the fat side up. Poured a cup of chicken broth in the bottom of the roasting pan and placed it in the preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Lowered the temperature to 325 degrees and rotated the pan to cook for another 55 minutes or until the internal temperature was 135 degrees. Turned the oven up to broil and crisped the outside for 5 minutes. The lamb was beautiful, crisp and smelled divine! Tented with foil and left to rest while we finished up dinner.
While the lamb was cooking Scarlet made the creme brûlée. She added 2 vanilla beans (sliced and scraped) to heavy cream and set it to come to a simmer on the stovetop. Then she separated out egg yolks and mixed in maple sugar to the yolk until it was light in color. Once the cream was simmering she turned off the heat and let the vanilla flavors macerate for 15 minutes in a covered pan. Removed the vanilla bean pods (rinsed and dried to add to our sugar jar) and slowly add the cream to the yolk mixture, whisking the whole time. Disperse evenly into ramekins placed in a roasting pan and add boiling water to cover half the sides of the ramekins. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 mins or until set and refrigerate until cool, about 2 hours.
The pasta was supposed to be the fun and easy part since we had made homemade pasta several times successfully. This recipe was a little different though with the extra eggs. We made one batch of egg fettuccini dough and one batch of spinach fettuccini dough. All seemed to be going well until it reached the cutting stage. It wasn’t going through the cutter cleanly at all. It was sticking together and coming out in a huge mess. This was not exactly putting our dinner guests at ease and became quite the spectacle (adding somewhat to the pressure!). We tried rolling it again and flouring the dough before cutting but the results were the same. Sticky, gluey breaking noodles. We hand cut the rest of the noodles as best we could. At this point the lamb was done, the cheese platter was exhausted and our guests were looking hungry. We decided to try cooking the pasta to see how bad it really was. It definitely firmed up and did separated into noodles but once it was added to the mint sauce it just looked like a sticky gluey mess. Scarlet was devasted, Dan was stressed, I was trying to come up with a plan B to save dinner. Just when all this was boiling to an epicenter of chaos baby Alex pulled up on a chair and fell back pulling the chair down over her. Screaming bloody murder, with a goose egg on her head and a purple swollen finger this became my new priority.
I sat down to nurse and comfort her, debating whether her finger was broken and needed emergency attention. She was bending it so it seemed like she would be alright. At that point I asked Dan to just serve the dinner as it was. It wasn’t too late, only about 7:30pm, but I knew I wasn’t going to have two free hands again to do anything more to fix it. In the frenzy of the failed pasta we forgot about the salad so just skipped it. The mint sauce was made with peas, that counts as a veggie right? Dan carved the lamb which was perfect (cue the angels singing). Crispy and seasoned outside and beautifully pink and tender on the inside. He plated it over the pasta mess as the mint sauce was meant to go with the lamb. All seemed to be lost at this point so I didn’t even consider taking pictures but I wish I had.
Here’s the inspiration recipe with lamb chops on the fettuccini and mint sauce.
Sitting down at our festive Christmas table with this somewhat mess of a dinner felt straight out of Christmas Vacation. Nobody seemed too excited to try it and the tension was high. However, once people did start eating the mood changed. The lamb was incredible, truly delicious. The mint sauce was a wonderful accompanying flavor and the pasta wasn’t quite as bad as it looked. Plates were cleaning up faster than we thought and the mood lightened as we all shared different stories of failed recipes. People went back for seconds (of the lamb).
Soon it was time to (fingers crossed, Hail Mary) try the creme brûlée. We broke out the flame torches and set to work sprinkling sugar on them and torching the tops to get a good crackle.
It sure looked good! We served the creme brûlée and waited anxiously like contestants on Chopped. The sugar had melted perfectly and had a nice crackle, the creme inside was smooth and set, it was… DELICIOUS (hallelujah, HALLELUJAH, hall-e-lu-jah ????????????????)!!!
Dan broke out his new birthday Lone Eagle Bourbon (a gift from Uncle Dave) and we passed around some of our Smokey Bacon Ginger Cookies (in case anybody was still hungry after our light dinner). The mood was happy, we had overcome a trial and it felt like Christmas with all the family there.
Why does it always happen this way? On any given Tuesday night we could be making a gourmet meal that comes out perfectly yet on a Friday, with a crowd and plenty of time to prep we wind up in a frenzy. But rest ye not, egg fettuccini, we will be back to make you again. And we will succeed!!! I still haven’t figured out what we did wrong but we will not relax until that dish is mastered! Santa may just need to bring us a kitchenaid pasta attachment for Christmas to aid in our quest…????????❤️????
And baby Alex is fine. Her finger was badly bruised but doesn’t seem to bother her at all and hasn’t kept her from getting into more trouble. 15 months old now, tis the age of bumps and bruises!
We used the following recipes for this dinner, I’m sure there was some user error or unlearned skills that attributed to the pasta fail. Not to be blamed on these recipes. Of course you could always just buy the fettuccine too: