When jumping out into the real world, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, one has this sincere belief that they can make themselves, unique; that they can conduct their lives such that they stand out, if only in a small way, from those around them. This, is good. However, the only thing keeping one from jumping off a cliff just for the new experience, is the anchor of family tradition. The balance then becomes, taking the good your family has offered and adding your own spunk to make it uniquely you. This is why, I make pasta.
I am fortunate enough to come from a family fueled by strong, impressive and passionate women. I also have the misfortune of coming from a family fueled by strong, impressive and passionate women. The women who helped form me have raised their children while practically being a child themselves. They have courage of conviction, fierce loyalty and the softest, most endearing of hearts. When progeny speak of me, I hope they say everything I just said “and, she made her own pasta!”
My wide-eyed journey started in my hole of a studio apartment on the avocado green counter-tops. I did pretty well with ravioli, but I could never get the dough quite dry or thin enough. Do not cry for me, for I had…a wedding registry. And what wonders a registry brings–a pasta maker! I am most humbly apologetic when I admit that I was married 7 months before I used the pasta machine (that isn’t exactly true, I used the base to pound chicken breasts for chicken cordon bleu, but for the sake of this post, I was 7 months abstinent). Finally, for New Years 2009-2010, I elected that I would make pasta once again. With the prospective red gravy as well, the meal would be epic.
Pasta making may very well be the most unorthodox of processes. Starting with semolina flour (it makes all the difference), make a mound right on the counter. Turn your mound into a volcano, making a well a the top. Fill the well with an egg. Yes, an egg. Flour and egg, smack on the counter. The theory is that you mix it together and it forms a dough. I made a mess of it. Luckily, Ryan in all his brains and brawn made the dough.
Once the dough is stiff, it is just a matter of rolling it thin and cutting into noodles. If you were doing this by hand, you’d need either a heavy rolling pin or a lot of upper body strength to roll it out. Then to cut the noodles, you could roll the dough tight and cut into strips. If you’re lucky enough to have friends who buy you a pasta maker, you first roll the dough through starting at a 7 or 8 and getting it down to about a 4. Then we used the spaghetti cutter. Once all the dough is cut into noodles, you’re pretty much good to go. To cook the noodles you need only boil them 3-5 mins. You can dry the noodles for a few hours and store them or freeze them.