Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Recipe Wednesday

In another life, I was an art student at the University of Michigan. I say "in another life" because when I think back, the charged atmosphere of an old college campus and its surrounding city are so different from where I've settled. The learning, the discovering, the growing ... it's happening everywhere all the time in a college town. Every single minute. And that is something that sometimes makes my heart ache for those Ann Arbor days. After all, Ann Arbor was the place where I learned the foundations of design that are now a part of me. It's also the place where I learned something perhaps more important and even more a part of me ... how to cook.

In college, I was an amateur kitchenista. I coated my minuscule apartment kitchen with sugar making hard candy. I made plum sorbet. I attempted a 1932 recipe for spinach loaf I fished out of a crumbling cookbook (if you're curious .. it was awesome). These were things I was gung-ho about then. Quite frankly, I'm still gung-ho about them, but as my life has carried on and it's become sometimes less practical to make homemade treats, I've let some of my adventurousness go. It's sad really.

Soooo, in a half-attempt to relive those cozy little tiny apartment days, and a full attempt to regain some of my kitchen derring-do, I made my own pasta this afternoon. It's something I used to do in college. And from what I remembered of this recipe, (from Mama D's Pizza & Pasta Cookbook, 1978) this pasta, much like the 1932 spinach loaf, was awesome.

So here's the recipe for you, my friends. Please be warned: Though pasta-making is pretty much like working with any other dough, it's no small feat and takes a while. Even though I've made it a few times myself, I clumsied my way through this refresher attempt and still wound up with super-thick noodles. But they tasted awesome, and I have leftovers for tomorrow, so what do I care?



3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3 tablespoons oil
6 to 9 tablespoons water

Put the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs and oil.

Using the fork, whisk the eggs with the oil until combined. Gradually begin to whisk in the flour from the side of the well. When the flour has all been worked in, the mixture will be crumbly.

Still using the fork, begin to add the water, one tablespoon at a time. Work well with each addition to incorporate the water into the mixture. Add only enough water to form the dough into a somewhat crumbly ball with your hand.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured formica or wood surface and begin working with it with the heel of your hand, pushing the dough away from you. If the dough is sticky, add more flour to the surface. Continue working the dough for about 10 minutes, or until you have a smooth elastic ball. Invert the mixing bowl and allow the dough to rest under it for ten minutes. The dough is now ready to be rolled out and cut into shapes for desired pasta.

When rolling out the dough, always push in the direction away from the center of the dough. To maintain its shape and thin it evenly, rotate the dough frequently (about 1/4 turn each time). Keep unrolled portions of the dough covered by the bowl. Cut into desired shapes.

Cook pasta in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, or until desired tenderness.

A NOTE ABOUT MAKING NOODLES FROM YOUR PASTA SHEET: I cut my noodles organically because it makes me happy to eat a bowl of oddly shaped, irregular noodles, but you can cut and/or shape your dough however you like. I just divide my dough in half, roll the portions as thin as I can, then cut them into long strips. If you'd like to form fancier shapes, I suggest looking up directions on the interweb or consulting Mama D. Or getting a pasta machine. I hear those are the bomb.


So that's it, my friends. Because I like to keep it simple, I sautéed my cooked noodles in butter and crushed garlic until they had some golden brown spots, then topped with salt and ground black pepper. Perfecto!


  1. Yum, yum, yum. Coincidentally, I've been trying to schedule a pasta-making lesson with my friend's tiny little sweet little Nonna. You just reminded me to get a move on. Would you ever consider sharing that spinach loaf recipe? I'm a spinach freak these days...

  2. For sure. I'll see if I can find it in my unorganized archives. ;)


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