Saturday Evening Pasta

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I made pasta this afternoon. It’s just two ingredients, all-purpose flour and eggs, and that’s a good thing because I have been having a tough time planning and shopping for meals the last few days, but I always have eggs and flour, and I have a pasta roller, but you don’t need one to make your own pasta. All you need is flour, eggs, and time.

I don’t always make my pasta, of course. It is not a quick process, so not suitable for a quick weeknight meal. But it is a form of kitchen meditation for me, because it is both complex and repetitive enough to clear my mind of troublesome thoughts as I focus on rolling the pasta dough sheets thinner and thinner, keeping just the right amount of tension on the dough as it feeds out of the rollers, and dusting with the tiniest bit of flour to prevent it sticking to them.

As I run the pasta sheets through the cutter attachment, I gently guide the cut lengths up and away from the table, so it doesn’t pile up on itself and become a tangled, sticky ball of crazy. The Dog always knows that when I am cutting pasta, there will be scraps and bits that slip from my fingers to the floor, and she will be rewarded for keeping me company. I carefully separate the strands on a clean towel, and move on to the next sheet.

Dried pasta and fresh pasta are like night and day, both in the cooking and the eating. Mind you, I will never turn down a bowl of pasta, in any form, but fresh pasta has a richer flavor and more complex texture than dried pasta, tender and toothsome all at once. It’s happy in almost any sauce, but my favorite ways to eat it are with lots of butter, or with a classic Alfredo made with just butter and heavy cream, finished with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and lots of freshly ground black pepper. It may be the Alfredo tonight, with some frozen vegetables tossed in, and maybe a simple green salad with olive oil and lemon juice.

I encourage you to give pasta from scratch a go. It’s a cooking skill that will feed you both body and soul.

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