Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Homemade Pasta

It might say something about my best friend and I, that when I planned my trip up to Bloomington, IN to visit her before she moves to Canada to get her PhD, what we were most excited about doing was cooking together. Instead of hitting the bars, we hit the Farmers Market. That's right. I know you're jealous. She joked that it was a lot like Pioneer Woman - inviting me to visit and then putting me to work in the kitchen. I was a little nervous about cooking with another person since I definitely have my quirks, but we had a blast and a lot of things were so much easier. Her boyfriend John helped out by washing a LOT of dishes.

After seeing Pastor Ryan make pasta on Pioneer Woman, Abby knew what she wanted to make with me. When we hit the Farmers Market, we grabbed up some local greens, radishes, and goat cheese for a salad, and some strawberries and rhubarb for a pie. Then we went for a 4 mile hike. I made the wise decision to not shower immediately after the hike because I definitely worked up even more of a sweat in the un-air-conditioned kitchen.

I didn't get any pictures of the strawberry rhubarb pie, and the pasta is more of a narrative event anyway. We consulted The Pioneer Woman post and Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything to decide on a method and measurements. Mark Bittman suggests using 2 eggs + 1 yolk for 1 1/2 cups of flour. We put the flour on a clean, flat surface and made a well in the middle of it, which we cracked the eggs into. Using a fork, Abby scrambled the eggs and incorporated the flour gradually until it became to thick. Then I took over with the kneading, massaging the dough until it was smooth. We covered it and left it to rest for about an hour, though thirty minutes would've sufficed.

Without a pasta roller, I tried to work some magic with a rolling pin, rolling out the dough as thin as I could get it. Then I cut the noodles into strips with a pizza cutter. They were sort of similar sizes but definitely not perfect. I prefer "rustic". We boiled the noodles in salted water while I whipped up a simple sauce of cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese with a little fresh basil.

The noodles were, as John described them, "epic". They got a lot thicker and fatter as they cooked and were very hearty. The texture is incredibly delicious, much different than dried or even fresh store-bought pasta. We loved this meal. And, as a side benefit, I felt like a total bad-ass for making my own noodles.