Use Your Noodle!

I can’t believe I haven’t posted about my noodle experiments yet!

Since Italy, I have been driven to make various kinds of noodles, mainly out of curiosity and also because fresh pasta is delicious and requires very few ingredients. Mr. B got me a pasta maker back in December but I only got to use it once or twice before skipping town so I’m trying to make up for that now.

With a pasta maker, noodles can be as simple as mix thoroughly (2 c flour, 3 eggs), roll (insert pasta maker here), and roll again to cut, but for some reason I like to pick the really difficult kinds of pasta…

Like penne. With the penne noodles I had to mix, roll, cut into squares, and roll each square point to point around the back of a wooden spoon.

The result, covered in some doctored up tomato sauce from a jar, was pretty good but only moderately better than the $0.80 boxed kind and a LOT more labor. Still I was proud.

Then I made gnocchi. This was actually slightly less arduous then the penne but even less rewarding. I used the method in Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. Basically, you boil 1.5 lbs small potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes), peel off the skins while hot, rice the potatoes (I don’t have a ricer, so I grated), mix with up to 1.5 c flour, then roll into long cylinders and cut into 3/4″ sections. Roll each noodle on a fork while making an indent on the other side with your index finger. That step may be optional. Boil for 10 +/-3 seconds and consume.

The result seemed right on the outside but was sort of mushy and gummy on the inside. Mr. B and I agreed that this probably wasn’t my fault and is maybe just how homemade gnocchi turn out sometimes. He said the ones he ate at Julienne in Santa Barbara a few weeks ago weren’t too different. (I highly recommend Julienne, by the way, except maybe for their gnocchi.) We left the rest out to dry overnight to see if that helps, though I’m not counting on it.

Anyway, I didn’t want to eat them or make him eat them either, so we went with some boxed pasta instead. It was the perfect compliment to my homemade pesto (recipe to come)- much more fitting!

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