An Evening with Cousin Coug
Pasta. I love pasta.
I’ve had pasta a million different ways. In my homemade beef noodle soup. Lovingly coaxed into an elegant yet rustic form at Flour+Water. Even in it’s most refined form, at restaurants like French Laundry and Marea. And through all of these culinary experiences, I got to thinking about the beauty of this ingredient. Think about it: something as simple as flour and eggs, transcending so many different cultures, and being enjoyed by so many people. I decided to embark on a quest to make my own pasta dough, and make it well.
Armed with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot and with the ingredients all laid out in front of me, I began by making a well in the flour, and mixing in my eggs by hand. Slowly the dough started to come together, changing in both color and texture. I noticed that it was a little bit dry, so I added another egg (even though the recipe didn’t call for it) and the first thing that I thought was that if eggs were shots of bourbon, this dough would be wasted.
As I kneaded the dough together, I couldn’t help but think how much hard work this was and I really began to truly appreciate the effort chefs put into all the amazing pasta dishes I’ve had in my life. My hands began to get tired and doubt was starting to fill my head. Was I kneading the dough the right way? Was I applying enough pressure? What if this pasta sucks? To boost my confidence, I decided to pour myself some Macallan 12 to rid myself of pasta dough insecurities. (Single malt scotch makes me feel like a super star in any situation)
Once the dough came together, I rubbed it with olive oil and let it rest. After the dough had rested, it pretty much resembled the aforementioned drunk person: relaxed and greased up. I then set up the pasta maker to sheet the pasta and began feeding it through the machine. As the pasta began to lengthen, I had some difficulty rolling it through in a straight line and pulling it out at the same time. Fueled by scotch, I became very determined and was cranking the handle so furiously that at times it flew out from the machine. I think the last time I concentrated that hard at something was when I took my SATs.
After passing the pasta numerous times through the machine, I finally got the pasta to resemble the thickness of pappardelle. Maybe I had beer goggles but I was decently impressed with my work. The pork ragu that I had cooking at the same time was almost ready (which was good because I was really getting tired of looking at that pasta dough). I finally served my dish to my hungry family who thoroughly enjoyed it.
Though I was proud of myself for making pasta from scratch, I’ve decided that next time I’ll just go to Flour+Water to enjoy the fruits of their labor instead of mine.
- Cousin Coug