there’s honestly nothing better than making your own pasta. it’s just satisfying taking such basic ingredients and turning it into something so delicious and filling; using your hands to mix and knead and form, watching and feeling a chemical reaction under them. i want to share this simple recipe with you in hopes that you tackle homemade pasta (which is so so so easy, i promise), and pay attention to the the feeling of the flour, the process of rolling out the elastic-y gluten of the dough, the beauty of how it falls and then sit back and admire your hard work with a glass of wine.
one of my most frequent day dreams includes pasta making. i go over it before bed, at work, in the shower and it varies slightly from time to time, but it always goes more or less as such: i’m living on the coast in italy, in a smallish house with a beautiful kitchen filled with light and a big dining table. i wake up early with the sun and water my garden and flowers then come back inside and make espresso and mr. copper breakfast. we eat in cool morning shade of the backyard and then he goes off to work and i walk down to the market where i know the vendors by name. we exchange banter (in italian, because by now i’m fluent), i pick up greens, fruit, fresh fish and eggs and head home.
by this time it’s just 9am and i settle in at my sun soaked kitchen island and start mixing eggs and semolina flour, kneading kneading kneading until my arms are sore but the dough is smooth and perfect. i roll out dough using my old pasta machine that i got from my nona that i’ve had forever and smell the salty ocean breeze through the window.i’m forever joking about my obsession with carbs, but pasta is so many different kinds of comfort to me. it’s comfort in that it reminds me of my family: tuesday dinners at nona’s with everyone when i was younger, the exact smell of her house, and now being older, always requesting her pasta dishes when i visit home because nothing compares to knowing i’m eating a recipe that’s been passed down for generations. it’s comfort in knowing that i have the ability to create something i love by hand; knowing that i, too can keep the recipes alive. comfort in knowing i can create something that brings people together, nourishes them and brings them joy.
semolina flour pasta with tomato sauce
*recipe from marcella hazan
1 can san marzano tomatoes (it’s important you get the right kind, their taste is sweeter than a roma)
1 small white onion, cut in half
5 tablespoons of butter
•add all ingredients to a large pot and bring to a simmer. cook for about an hour, breaking up the pieces of tomato gently with a wooden spoon. remove onion and discard. use an immersion blender to make sauce smooth (optional).
3 cups semolina flour
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt
•mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl and then dump it out onto the counter (or leave it in the bowl if you don’t have a smooth surface). make a little well in the middle and crack your eggs in and add olive oil.
•with a fork, gently start to mix in the flour in circles, bring in more flour gradually as you go.
•once you have a scraggly mess, use your hands to bring the dough together, pressing the flour into the dough and folding it over. repeat this motion of pressing in, stretching out and folding over for a full 10-14 minutes. your arms will be sore, and it will seem like it’s not going to come together, but trust me: pasta takes time, effort and love, which is the beauty in it!
•once the dough is a smooth ball cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sit in on the counter for 30 minutes to let the gluten develop. once set, cut into 6 or so pieces and roll out using a pasta maker. i made sheets at the second last thickness setting and then used the spaghetti setting on my pasta machine, but you can use whatever suits your sauce or your fancy.
•cook in a large pot of generously salted water. it’s important that you use a big pot and the water comes to a rolling boil so that the pasta cooks properly. fresh pasta should only take about 3-4 minutes to cook depending on how thick you rolled it.
toss with sauce, grate liberally with parmesan cheese and hot peppers and admire your work of art! notes: the recipe calls for semolina flour which is made from durum wheat and it is coarsely ground. i love using this type of flour because it creates a pasta with a rough texture (aka more sauce clinging to your noodles) and a great al-dente bite.