I love pasta. I like macaroni and cheese, fettuccine alfredo, spaghetti and marinara…you get the picture!
And I love fresh pasta. I like how its all soft. It smells good to me. And generally speaking it tastes better. But the thing I like most about fresh pasta is the art of making it. It’s like a meditation.
I started making pasta a few years ago and struggled with the stubborn, elastic dough to the point where I didn’t want to ever do it again. See, pasta dough and a rolling pin require a huge amount of upper body strength that I just don’t have. Or wish to have, frankly.
However, last year I got a hand cranked pasta roller and suddenly my love affair with noodles really took off. And since then, boy have I gotten good!
Pasta making for me is almost like a meditation. You have to work with the dough and add extra water or olive oil depending on the ambient humidity, the size of the eggs you use or the mood of the flour. You have to work it just enough so that it doesn’t become tough, but instead is a nice soft, silky consistency. In short, it is like art. It is a skill I have cultivated because I love my noodles. And frankly, so does my son. He even helps crank the roller from time to time!
The thing about making fresh pasta that I love the most though is that it really connects me to my food. Yes it is tastey and yes it is fun, but mostly I love that it allows me the space and time to really get down and make something. I don’t get the same sense of meditative time when making bread, mostly because I find bread stressful still. I am always worrying about the density, the rising, the cooking time. It doesn’t focus and calm me the way pasta making does. Maybe its my Italian heritage coming through, who knows?
In either case, I suggest that everyone find something food related that makes you feel the same way. Whether its pie crust, or bread making, or hollandaise sauce. Once you connect with a food process, you’ll never be the same again!