Crank, and eat

When you're four, the world is a big, big place. It's hard to imagine everything. It's especially hard to imagine what on earth is about to happen when your uncle comes over, toting a bag with a weird looking silver machine and a little book with a woman on the cover who looks like this.

I mean, I've got a good twenty years on four, and even I can't understand why a pasta recipe should come with a picture of a naked, lasagna-noodle-draped Italian goddess on the front. (Something about "wellness," from what it says.)

Luckily, if you're anything like the fishmonger's niece, and you changed the spelling of your name at age three from l-i-l-y (boooring) to l-i-l-i (hello, runway!), you know how to handle these sorts of beyond-the-imagination things. You simply go with them. Whoever that lady is, and whatever it is that machine does, well, you get cranking. Literally.

Because it's a pasta maker. The other afternoon, between the two of them, Lili and the fishmonger kneaded three pounds of flour and fifteen eggs into a whole heap of pasta dough. Then they spent a full two hours cranking out linguine for Saturday night dinner.

I kind of missed the action, but when I showed up around six, I was informed that the meal had been produced by a "sewing machine that makes pasta," and I knew that could only mean something good.

It did.

It was the best batch of homemade pasta our little machine has put out yet, and the simplest, too. Just eggs, and flour, and a whole lot of hard work. (I guess the naked pasta goddess is on to something, after all.) I highly recommend it—especially if you have plenty of family around to help crank, and eat. And a little bit of butter, to spread on top. This homemade pasta is so good, it doesn't even really need sauce.


Normally, I don't measure flour by the pound, but in this case, it's a good idea. Also, use the best eggs you can find.

5 eggs
1 pound of all-purpose flour

Dump the flour onto a work surface and mound it into a compact pile. Form a well in the center, then crack the eggs into the well, one at a time. Using the back of a fork, press the eggs gently into the middle of the well to begin combining them with the flour. Slowly, begin whisking the eggs together, bringing the flour in bit by bit. When the mixture starts to get thick, work it with your hands and knead for four or five minutes. The finished dough should be smooth, not sticky, otherwise it will get stuck in the crank.

Divide the dough into chunks and process according to your machine's instructions. Remember that fresh pasta only needs to cook for a minute or so, depending on how dry it is, and take care not to overcook. Since there's no salt in the dough, it's a good idea to heavily salt your cooking water. Drain and serve warm with butter.


Anonymous said...

It really was a fabulous meal. Glad we got to reap the benefits. Thanks so much

Diane Warren said...

I remember when my grandmother made pasta. She had wooden poles all over the house that she hung the noodles on to dry. I have a pasta roller, but have yet to use it. It's the best, however. Nothing like it.

Anonymous said...

even good the second night

Elspeth said...

First night, second night, it was good. I agree.

Diane—that sounds so cool! I can just picture it—we do it on a laundry rack, or even the backs of our dining room chairs.

happy thursday!

Anonymous said...

I am going to get rich on a portable pasta drying travel kit. -FM

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