Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fresh Pasta

So it was Saturday, after two photo shoots in the morning, a quick hike on the bike trails, then a beer on the couch, I was seriously questioning my plan to make fresh pasta for dinner. Having pizza delivered for the second night in a row seemed like a reasonable option. But no.

I dragged out Martha's recipe, which is simply flour and eggs. Not so daunting, I thought. Plus I've seen the gurus on the Food Network do it a hundred times and it always seems pretty simple.

I mounded my 2 cups of flour into a nice little volcano and made the crater that would (hopefully) hold the 4 eggs. Of course, MY volcano started to erupt the eggs down the side of the flour hillside as I did a mad dash to gracefully whisk in the eggs with a fork and gradually work in the flour while attempting to keep the whole thing from flowing onto the floor. It was a wee bit less graceful than I had seen demonstrated by the pros, but I did wrestle it into a ball of dough.

Ok. A deep breath I took and moved my dough to a clean, floured section of the kitchen counter and began to knead. For TEN minutes. I figured this would count as my workout for the day. Indeed. But then it was done and now it was time to cover it with a bowl and let it relax on the counter for an hour and a half.

Which was ok, because it gave me time to drive around the neighborhood like a stalker, searching for a wireless signal, since mine was on the fritz for the second day! But that's another story.

So the alarm went off and I headed back to my little labor of love on the counter and followed Martha's instructions to divide the dough into four pieces and "vigorously roll out until almost transparent". Then I needed to fold each piece into 3rds and cut to desired width. I opted for papardelli sized noodles, about 1/4 inch wide. It worked! They looked like pasta!!

The cool thing about fresh pasta is that it cooks in about 2 seconds, ok 2-3 minutes, but still. I made a creamy tomato sauce with a bit of spinach and some meatballs that gave me more trouble than the pasta. But it really was so good. Sadly, I was out of parmesan cheese, and despite two trips to the store that day, it remained the missing ingredient. However, two of us ate every last bit of the gigantic platter I produced.

So the moral of the story is: the workout, the floury mess, and the total trashing of the kitchen was all worth it. I make it sound like a bit of hell, but it was fun really. I dare you to give it a try. You will feel and taste all of the love that you pour into constructing your very own noodles.

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