I have a friend, Cecilia. She is as authentic Italian as you come – like, the real deal straight from Modena. And not that large old grandma type that is feeding you fried buttery mozzarella smothered in homemade marinara. Non. She is the fresh, homemade, healthy kind that relies on minimal ingredients of the highest quality. It’s like the Olive Garden vs. Piccolo Sogno (you must go). There is just no comparison, period. She is that kind of Italian gal.
M has been hinting to me to make fresh pasta lately (ah, yes – in my spare time!) and since that’s not exactly my forte I reached out to Ceci. As always she wanted to help and within a day she came by armed with her pasta maker at precisely 5:30. I warned her that 1. it was the witching hour and 2. I may or may not at certain points have up to 5 children running in and out of my house and 3. there is dust and a lot of it from construction in our entry way. She assured me none of that bothered her (her ‘bebe’ consists of the cutest cat ever Fabio and her gorgeous home always seems to be spotless). So, with B on my hip we begin.
‘You have a scale, non?’
‘A scale. We need 500 grams of flour – to measure?’
Ummmm – no? I’m American. I have cups. I have a scale in my bathroom but I’m pretty sure that isn’t what you’re looking for.” We started to laugh, could we be more different? We both grabbed our iPhones to begin googling ‘how many cups is 500 grams of flour?’ We got various answers but the one that seemed most consistent was 4.5 cups. We went with it.
‘You have a mixer?’
‘YES! I have that! But there is cookie dough in the bowl.’ Of course there is.
After transferring the dough to another bowl, washing it out, distracting B with a pack of gum, and getting it on the mixer we were good to go – I think.
‘You need the – ah – the hook for the mixer?’
Huh. I’ve never used that thing – like, ever ever (sorry, it’s all I listen to in the car). I hope I have it?! Frantically I searched through my messy drawers/cabinets and volia! I found it! Now we were good to go.
And this is the crazy part about homemade pasta. It’s barely any ingredients. In went the 4.5 cups of flour, 6 eggs, a splash of water and salt and we had homemade dough within a minute.
That time consuming part is what comes next. You have to knead it with your hands a bit to get a smooth consistency and place in a bowl covered with a towel. Next up you cut off chunks of dough and run it through the pasta machine 4-5 times, depending on how thick you like your pasta.
These large sheets then dry out just a bit on a table and then one more time through the machine to cut the pasta into the style you want. We went with a fettuccine or ‘tagliatelle’ as Ceci calls it. She’s just so cool that way.
All in all my take on it? 100% worth it. Dinner could not have been more delicious or more beautiful. I tossed it with some simple homemade pesto and topped it with freshly grated pecorino. Sliced tomatoes from my mom’s garden on the side.
Lux, all the way.