Handmade Pasta

I’m not good at creative projects. I can’t sew, paint, sculpt, draw, build or knit. Shoot, my four year old niece gives me a run for me money in front of a coloring book and crayons.

Growing up I hated math and science. Hated them. Like, cried when I had to do homework hated them. I was just so, so, SO bad with numbers and…other smart stuff. I always liked writing and I loved any and all art classes I took – just wasn’t good at it. I think part of it was a patience thing. Why was I going to spend all that time creating something that would just end up on the fridge? And really, my parents were more about putting up good grades than good art (not that I gave them any of that – whoooops). But now that I’m almost 25, and looking back on my childhood (cue dramatic pause), I wonder if the reason why I wasn’t good at artsy stuff was because…um…I couldn’t eat it?

Because lord knows I will spend all day kneading some dough and eating some bread. These are just facts. And the thing about food is that I’ll eat it even if it doesn’t look like a work of art. My creative successes are based off of taste thankyouverymuch.

Projects in the kitchen are my thing. Give me some flour, butter and a bowl and I’ll create something. But sometimes I need to be challenged. I need to do something that is completely out of my comfort zone, and for no other reason than that. Sometimes when things get super crazy in my life I just have to prove to myself that I can do crazy things. This weekend? I made pasta. Crazy-looking pasta.

From scratch.

The whole process was really, really cool. Essentially pasta is just flour and eggs. You hear that, people?! TWO INGREDIENTS. Flour. Eggs.

Sorry vegans.

To be completely honest with you guys, I never cared about the taste of this. It wasn’t about eating a huge bowl of fresh pasta at the end (although that was a plus, duh). It wasn’t even about making something beautiful (the picture below can attest to that). No, this was more about dedicating an afternoon to flour, eggs and my counter. It’s amazing how much you don’t think about when you’re kneading dough for eight minutes.

Okay kids, grab your aprons and clean off your counter. You’re about to make magic.

Handmade Pasta ( inspired by Google, YouTube, various magazine articles, etc) – serves 3

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting

3 extra-large eggs

1/2 t olive oil (optional)

Measure out two cups of flour onto your clean counter. Make a well with your fingers, creating a “flour wall” that is about an inch high. Crack your eggs straight into that well. Drizzle in the oil if using.

Carefully start beating the eggs with a fork, slowly allowing a little flour at a time to fall in and become incorporated. This takes time and patience. Do not think you can speed this up by just dumping all the flour in and going crazy. Patience, my dear friend. As you add more flour in you will start to see it come together like a dough – again, this is going to take a little time and most likely you will freak out and think you’re doing it wrong. I freaked out about twice before I saw the dough magically come together.

When there is no more runny egg left, drop the fork and get those hands to work. Start kneading the dough bringing more flour in as you go. I kept the extra 1/2 cup flour around to incorporate as I saw fit. In the end you want a ball that looks like the first picture above. If your dough looks a little dry, add some water. If it looks a little wet, add some flour. Have fun with it! Continue kneading for 6-8 minutes.

Once you have the dough all kneaded together (it should still be a little tacky, but smooth and elastic) wrap it in plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes. Go rest your arms because you will need your strength later.

After 30 minutes unwrap the dough and knead a few more times on the counter. Cut dough in half and wrap one piece in plastic while you roll out the other. Making sure you have a large space to work on, dust a little flour on your surface. Begin rolling your dough, flipping and flouring as you go. You need to roll it super, super thin but don’t let it stick to the counter. Once it is thin enough ( you should be able to see your hand, or a magazine cover under it) you’re ready to cut!

I used a pizza roller to make fettuchini sized noodles. As you see in the photos above I don’t have steady hands, so they look all sorts of crazy. Frankly, I loved that. I dusted mine with flour a little before I cooked them and I think it helped them not stick together.

To cook: Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt and drop in your pasta – make sure you have a lot of room in the pot. You might have to do two batches – no biggie. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes until al dente.

You, my dear, just made pasta.

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