Homemade Italian...Breaking Bread with Good Friends

What is it about being part of the process in creating a meal that makes it so incredibly delicious? There's just something about being able to actually see where the ingredients came from that is so appealing to me as a person who loves to cook.  

Fresh, sun-ripened strawberries picked directly from the vine by your own hand....
the flavor is incredible!

These gorgeous apples will surely make a delectable pie, apple butter, or applesauce.

As we walked through their amazing garden we came upon the incredible aroma of fresh basil....later that evening I was fortunate enough to taste some of this in a homemade pesto pasta sauce made by our hosts!

As much as love to cook I shamefully have to say that I've never made fresh pasta before. The process itself is straight forward, but I believe that the of true secret of fabulous pasta comes through in the measurement of ingredients and love put into making it.

Flour, salt, water, oil, egg and a few other simple ingredients come together to make something incredibly delicious!

We were later treated to the most delectable homemade bread...prepared before our eyes.

The waiting begins as we watch the bread to rise...

Almost ready for the oven...I can already smell the baked bread....incredible!

 Our hosts even made us drinks with fresh raspberries picked from their amazing garden...taste bud overload! 

Ready to roll out the pasta... here we go!

It looked so delicious and it wasn't even cooked yet!

My daughter, Hanna, helping Zach roll out the pasta. Zach and Lisa had to remind the boys not to try and sneak the pasta off the pasta rack while it dried. Zane (their youngest son) rested his face and arms on table eyeing the pasta!

Waiting for the pasta to dry on the pasta rack we went for a walk through their amazing gardens. Our hosts (Zach and Lisa) are incredible people.  They grow an huge array of produce, pick their own mushrooms, hunt their own game, can their own fruits and vegetables, and make just about everything from scratch.  All this and they have 2 boys, Xander and Zane all 6 and under. I am in awe!

The finished loaf of bread. There is nothing like the smell of bread right from the oven!

The cooked pasta...we had to wrestle with these long strands of goodness.

Fresh pasta with a vodka cream sauce that was made with their own homegrown tomatoes. The pasta sauce was seasoned up with dried peppers that were, you guessed it, grown in their garden.  Topped with grated Parmesan cheese...no words can describe.  Honestly, this was probably the best pasta dish I have ever eaten. No one will be able to convince me that there is a vodka pasta sauce out there that will even come close to this one.  

We also were served a pasta with fresh pesto. The last (and only time) I had pesto I decided that it was not for me. The flavor was so overpowering (not in a good way) that I never again desired to try it.  After having Zach and Lisa's homemade pesto sauce I've been converted to a pesto lover.  I couldn't get enough of it! 

Along with the warm bread we had oven roasted Amish garlic drizzled with olive oil and salt...it spread like butter.  I must have had at least 4-5 cloves along with 3 slices of bread.  If all this deliciousness was not enough...we were served some wonderful chocolate chip cookies at the end of the meal.  Like everything in this kitchen...they were homemade. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday evening with gracious hosts, incredible Italian food, and wonderful fellowship!