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When our decision to eat a mainly vegetarian diet comes up in conversation, people usually respond with the following:
“I would never be able to do that. I love meat too much!”
I thought the same thing before we made the decision. I love meat too! But I’ve realized that you are limited only by what you believe is within your capacity to do.
We’ve found it so much fun to explore eating mainly veg, and it’s been easy and healthy too!  We rarely crave meat (I’ve found the less of it you eat, the less you want.) I’m actually surprised at how easy it’s been to navigate the summer cookout season (bring a few portabellas to your friends’ cookout, and you’re in business!).

Removing the option of meat from your diet does lend its hand to carbo-loading a bit more. I used to semi-participate in the no-carb craze, but now I fully embrace carbs!  I think grains are an important part of our diet, and they actually provide a lot of protein too.
We may have taken our carb-o-philia a bit far, though, because now I can’t eat a meal without bread or pasta (usually freshly made, thanks to hub).
We were inspired the other night to continue our quest of perfecting homemade pasta. Our previous attempts had some issues with consistency, so we decided to try Marcella Hazan’s recipe (as I recently discovered that she is the Julia of Italian cuisine).

Marcella’s recipe called for unbleached flour instead of the semolina flour that we’d previously been using, along with letting the pasta sit for 15 minutes before cutting it. It turned out perfectly – exactly the consistency we’ve been looking for!  (Yet another strike against Jamie Oliver, sadly…)

We served the pasta with this wonderful eggplant parmesan recipe from Mario Batali. We’ve made it twice and I LOVE it. It might be one of my favorite vegetarian recipes thus far. It’s totally satisfying and really easy to make! (And baked instead of fried…not only healthier, but much easier to assemble.)

Accompanying the meal was this delicious peach and blackberry pie made by our friends Gabe and Amanda. Look at that crust!  Beautiful.
For those interested, the pasta recipe is below. You’ll need a pasta machine (we got a cheap one and have found it definitely worth the $30 investment!).

Homemade Pasta a la Marcella Hazan
1. Combine 1 cup of unbleached flour and 2 eggs (per ~2 servings) in a food processor until it reaches dough-like consistency.
2. Cut the dough into six equal parts. Put each piece of dough through the widest setting on the pasta machine. Fold it in thirds and feed it through the widest setting again; repeat 2 to 3 times. Decrease the thickness setting of the pasta machine and repeat. Continue to decrease the thickness until the dough is quite thin.
3. Let the pasta sit for 10 minutes. Then run it through the cutter on your pasta machine, cut it with a knife into your desired shape, or use the sheets to make filled pasta like ravioli.
4. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until it is al dente.
~Sonja

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