Saturday, October 29, 2016


Hand mixed, hand stretched, hand cut. Dressed with a simple butter/olive oil/garlic/parmesan/salt sauce that's traditional in Northern Italy. Maybe all of Italy, but I learned it when I worked in a Northern Italian restaurant decades ago. It was all I had on hand to use as a sauce, or I'd have made something a tad more photogenic. Photogenic or not, I can testify that it was delicious, even well before lunch time.

They also taught me to make fresh pasta and while I didn't make the pasta we used there, I've made plenty of it at home over the years. Then some years ago -- and I don't remember when it was -- I sold my pasta machine and they are pricey to replace. The importance of the above photo, however, is that they taught me to make the pasta using a food processor and pasta machine. Not by hand. A few days ago I decided that this was a skill I wanted to learn so this morning I made the effort.

Didn't take photos of the flour with the egg in a well in the middle. I really didn't think at that point that it would end up being a successful effort. More of a learning experience. Maybe its because I once had such a good feel for what pasta dough should look and feel like, but I had to adjust the moistness of the dough until it felt right to me. Kneaded it for around 10 minutes, let it sit for 30 minutes then starting stretching it. Again I was surprised at how easy it was! The dough was perfect, if I may say so. Here's where the photos start.

All stretched and ready to rest and dry for awhile before cutting. Notice that you can see the grain of the wood through it.

You can also see my hand through it, and it's pliable enough to pick it up and move it around as much as I want to, without breaking or tearing.

And of course, you can also see the stripe of the kitchen towel I moved it onto for drying.

I'm not certain just how thin I'm supposed to have made it, but I felt this was enough. It would have stretched more, but how much more? Again I suppose the old tactile memory of what it would have felt like run though a pasta machine came in handy.

After it dried for awhile, I hand cut it into fettucine noodles, then piled them loosely on the board to dry a bit more before cooking. I think I might have almost waited too long to cut it because it was a bit dry and a couple of pieces broke. But for the most part, it was perfect.

If you are thinking that I'm proud of this, you are right! For something that was expected to be a throw-away, this turned out better than I could possibly have expected. Now that I've got the technique, I'll certainly be making more. It didn't take very long and wasn't very hard. In fact, it was great fun.

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