A Fresh Pasta Virgin No More

The other day I came to a somewhat embarrassing realization: Bridget Jones’s Diary is my favorite movie. Sure, if asked I’ll always says it’s Annie Hall, but it’s not. When it’s cold outside and I’m home alone and I want to spend an evening on the couch watching a movie, it’s usually Bridget Jones. So it was to her that I turned to keep me company as I embarked on my first attempt at homemade pasta. After all, no matter what happened to my noodles, I would never end up eating a dinner as disgusting as blue soup, omelet with green gunge, and marmalade.

With my nice new shint pasta machine clamped down to the counter, I started to play, using a recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan that used chicpea flour as a binding protein. The dough looked great, very pliable, and I ran a few test pieces through to clean out the machine. Then I ran them through again. And again. And as it turned out, pretty much my whole batch of dough was used to clean out the machine, even though we still had to eat it. It was rather frustrating to see bits of grit in my otherwise wonderful looking pasta, and I spent the rest of night convinced that I had specks of chrome stuck in my throat, so hopefully the machine is good and clean by now.

The rolling process was not nearly as fun as I thought it would be. I imagined some sort of wonderful eadible version of the Play-Doh Fun Factory, but as my countertops got more and more full and the oven made my kitchen more and more unbearable and my stomach became more and more restless, the fun was kind of gone. But next time will be different, because I’ve learned a few things.

1) Start with an immacualately clean kitchen. Don’t have a rack of biscotti cooling on one counter, a stack of dishwasher ready dishes on the other, bits and pieces for a side dish on yet another. Make room, or you might go crazy.

2) Chickpea flour is temperamental and shouldn’t be kept in a cupboard for nearly a year. While the pasta had a wonderful texture in the end, it had a bit of an off taste. And while this could have been metal and grease and other disgustingness posioning me (or my imagination thinking that was the case), it was probably some past its prime besan. Next time it’s going in refrigerator.

3) When you’re making something for the very first time that’s somewhat complicated and will take a bit of learning to master, don’t make any other dishes that take more than five minutes (or one bowl/pan). The crostini with roasted onions and swiss chard was great (even though I forgot to toast the bread until everything else was cooked and got to impatient to actually get it crispy), but it was far too involved to make when all of my attention should have been on the pasta.

4) Drink wine while eating, not while cooking. Franticness and a near buzz are not good companions. Especially on an empty stomach.

5) If you’re too impatient to let the pasta dry a bit before cooking it, it will stick together. I knew this would happen, but after two hours in the kitchen I didn’t really care.

And now that I know these things, my next pasta-making excursion will by completely painless and will convince me that I’m a culinary genius and can whip up fresh pasta every single night, right? OK, maybe not. But it will be easier. And hopefully with at least 90% less “facotry grit and sediment.” Yum.

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