Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homemade Pasta

I've been thinking a lot about making pasta at home lately. I mean, actually making the pasta. It's actually pretty easy, but I always feel like it's time consuming. A few weeks ago, when I spent my first evening working in Lark's kitchen since 2006. While there, Wiley Frank, sous chef, was showing one of the guys how to make raviolis. He knocked out a set of them so quickly, and smoothly, I thought, "I need to make pasta at home." Of course, he's the sous chef at Lark, and I've never been a sous chef in my life. But, I do know how to use my pasta machine, and I wasn't planning on making raviolis.

I've been hesitant to make pasta since that evening. I'm not afraid. My problem, and this happens with so many things in my life, is that I want to do it right. This desire makes me feel like I need to take the time to research, read, watch videos, etc., before making the attempt to do just about anything I feel worth doing. But, I lack the time, and quite frankly, the energy to go through all that. Instead, I end up not doing it at all. That is, until my want for making such item becomes greater than my need to make it perfectly, and then I just pull whatever I can find off the Internet (thank you, Steve Jobs, for your lovely, lovely iPhone & iPad), and try see what happens. I have every intention to go back and catch up on the research and make it even better then next time.

I finally felt the urge to pull the pasta machine off the shelf and go for it this afternoon. I looked up and compared a few recipes, and settled on a super simple on of semolina flour, water, salt, and olive oil. The result was a very dry, crumbly dough, to which I added a little more water, bit by bit, and kneaded, kneaded, kneaded. When it was finally soft and smooth, I wrapped it up in plastic and let it rest on the counter.

After the boys got up from their naps, I asked if they were interested in making noodles with me. They were super excited. I attached the machine to our dining table, and we went to work, cranking away. The boys each took a turn with the crank, and were amazed to see the large, flat piece of pasta get cut into thin strips of noodles right before their eyes.

What a beautiful thing homemade pasta is, especially when the rest of the meal was homemade as well. I had cooked up a batch of chanterelle and shitake mushrooms at lunch today. I ate about 1/3 of it, and had enough to use for tonight. I pan roasted a piece of flat iron steak, and when it was finished, I threw the cooked mushrooms into the pan with the steak juices to warm up. I deglazed with a little madiera wine, which I then flambeed (mainly just for the effect to show off to my boys), then tossed in the cooked noodles. We also had a romaine salad with golden beets, roasted cashews, and shredded "cracked black pepper white cheddar" cheese from Tillamook. A yummy, yummy meal.

You have got to excuse this picture, as I absolutely need to get a better camera.

No comments: