An extraordinarily questionable plan: Homemade pasta, first draft.

So, last week was a really bad week for me. Like, an epically bad week. It started with a death in the family and went downhill from there.

pasta

Coupled with the fact that Saturday was Bench’s official give-up-the-old-place-and-move-in-to-our-shiny-new-apartment day (which could not have gone less smoothly if we’d tried), the last few days have been fraught with high stress, low tolerance, and lots of raw, exposed nerves. Which of course meant it was the perfect time for me to try something new and intimidating, like taking my new pasta rollers for a spin.

Yeah, I know. Probably not my brightest idea ever, tackling something completely alien to me on a night when my temper had already frayed to within a breath of its breaking point. With no bourbon in the house. But that’s me, clever and timely. Always.

A few things that I discovered about pasta dough: first, do NOT be afraid to add more flour while you’re mixing up the dough. I had entirely too ginger a hand with it, resulting in multiple journeys back to the mixing bowl before I managed to get the dough to a consistency that resembled pasta instead of library paste (tip: Mollie Katzen says that pasta dough should feel like an earlobe. I do not disagree). Second, do not be afraid to rub down the rolled sheets of pasta with flour before cutting–this will help the noodles retain their individual integrity afterwards, and help you avoid the dreaded Lumpen Sticky Noodle Mass Of Doom that almost made me give up the whole process and call for sushi. Third: when in doubt, just sprinkle everything with flour. Including (if you’re me) your clothes, the kitchen, your hair, and half of the living room.

Noticing a pattern here?

eggs

In the end, the pasta turned out fine; not perfect, but not the epic fail it spent most of the evening threatening. Definitely edible enough that I’m going to keep trying until I get this business right (and, admittedly, it was awesome the next day for lunch tossed with a bit of that ramp pesto). I will keep you apprised as to my progress. In the meantime, please feel free to leave any advice and tips and favorite pasta recipes in the comments–if I’m going to master this (which I will, MAKE NO MISTAKE), I need all the help I can get!

Semolina pasta
adapted from Bon Appetit

2 1/2 cups semolina flour (pasta flour)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt All purpose flour (for working dough)

  1. In a large bowl, combine semolina flour, eggs, water, olive oil and salt. The recipe calls for making a well, and then incorporating it with a fork, but…no. Just mix them up.
  2. Sprinkle work surface with all purpose flour. Turn dough out onto floured surface; knead until smooth, 5 minutes. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes.
  3. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Set pasta machine to widest setting. Working with 1 piece of dough and covering remaining dough to prevent drying, run dough through machine 6 times. Cut dough strip in half crosswise. Turn machine to next narrower setting. Continue to run dough strips through machine, adjusting to next narrower setting after every 6 passes, until each strip is about 24 inches long and 1/16 inch thick. Arrange strips on parchment paper.
  4. Repeat with remaining 3 dough pieces. Let dough strips rest at room temperature until beginning to dry, 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Cut the pasta–if you have cutters, use them! If it’s a knife you’ve got, use a knife! Go nuts. I used spaghetti, because that’s what I have a roller for.
In pasta

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