After many ordeals in scratch baking this year, I learned to appreciate the magical mass that is dough. Dough is a simple paste of ground grain and liquid that can pave the way to a vast number of complex outcomes. I'm just sick of all the sweet ones. And ovens. I'm ready to move on the the savory realm of dough, and I'm leaving the oven behind.
A couple weeks ago I tried to join the ranks of Italian grandmothers everywhere by making my own pasta. This near-failure taught me a lot about the craft, and to never underestimate the forearm strength of any Nonna. After every roll of the pin, I'd watch my elastic dough pull back into a fat slab. Apparently pasta rollers were invented out of necessity rather than laziness.
This time around, I enter battle with a full arsenal of culinary weapons. In the opening skirmish, I engage the opponent using my bare hands, as there's no better tool when grappling with 7/4 C flour and 2 farm duck eggs. After a few minutes of the ole fashioned well method, my opponents retreat together into a ball like a scared hedgehog. We both get a 10 minute rest before the next round.
Next, I fire up the flattener and the shredder for two rounds of pain that no yoga instructor could ever dream to match. After a warm-up round with the wood pin, I feed the dough through the flattener. Then I fold it as if it were steel for a katana and flatten it again, and repeat it all again. Once I deem the dough ready for more I throw it to the shredder and prepare a pot of salted boiling water for the final round.
I throw the strands of pasta into the boiling pot for a few minutes, until they are almost al dente. The finishing blow comes in a vessel of whatever sauce is on hand. For this occasion I made a simple arrabbiata by frying crushed tomatoes from Green City Market in a homemade oil of chiles and garlic. Since I'm no rabbit, I decorate the sauce with chunks of spicy Italian sausage from The Butcher and Larder.
The end result is a delicious defeated opponent: tender, chewy pasta in a light, spicy tomato sauce with the best sausage in town covered. Garnish with Parmesan and the only thing left is to say, "buon appetito."