Homemade Pasta

Want to make homemade pasta? Try this recipe and tell me whether or not you think it’s worth the trouble.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups AP flour
4 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt
1 clove of garlic, diced
3 tablespoons of roasted red peppers, diced (from a jar)
1/3 cup chopped Thai basil
1-2 tablespoons red curry paste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon freshly ground allspice

This youtube video actually does all the heavy lifting for me:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFQG0pIE2yk&w=420&h=315]

Personally, I like making the dough in a food processor a hell of a lot more than on the table. In goes the eggs, flour, salt and oil. A few pulses later and your dough is ready to be kneaded with another tablespoon of floor or two. In about five minutes total you’re left with this:

Put it under a bowl or a dry dish towel and let it rest for at least twenty minutes.

The above recipe will give you enough pasta for four people. I didn’t need that much so I used about a 4th of the dough and froze the rest.

The real bitch comes next, depending on the equipment you’re rolling with. You can either roll your pasta out, cut it into sheets and again into noodles, or you can invest in a pasta machine. You can get one for under $20. I’d recommend this route.

After rolling out the sheets I cut them into thirds and sent them back through the fettuccine roller.

I hung them out to dry while I got the rest of my ingredients ready. Here they are:

By the time you’re done dicing the red pepper and garlic, chopping the Thai basil and grinding your spices your pasta should be ready to roll:

Get your favorite sauté pan going over medium heat and bring a separate pot of water to boil with at least three tablespoons of kosher salt.

Put a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of unsalted butter in the pan and add the curry, peppers, garlic, Thai basil and spices. Sauté the shit out that stuff for about three minutes.

While that’s going, drop the pasta into the boiling water. This isn’t the stuff you buy in a box. It will only take a few minutes.

By the time your spices, garlic, etc. get soft and fragrant, your pasta should be done. Drain the fettuccine and immediately add it to the pan with a tablespoon of butter.

Remove the pan from heat and use tongs to coat the noodles. Drop it on a plate and enjoy.

They say you eat with your eyes, so what do you think?

Verdict

Okay, it’s hella good.

The noodles definitely have a different texture from the pasta you’re probably used to. They have a different flavor, absorbing some of the saltiness from the water. The starch also allows the flavor from the pan to lend itself to the noodles in an amazing way.

But, is it worth it? Depends. Are you making diner for a special occasion? Trying to impress someone? Then sure. Make all the homemade pasta you want and you won’t regret it. Seriously it’s delicious.

But as good as it is, you’re also dependent on the flavors you’re using and if you make a nice sauce it’s going to come through in the store bought stuff as well. Not quite as well, but you can make the above in fifteen minutes instead of two hours.

So, I consider homemade pasta conquered. Glad I did, it tasted incredible and all that, but I’ll continue to buy the vast majority of my fettuccine and spaghetti.

Hey, almost there.

It has quickly become my favorite thing on the planet, sitting on my porch at night with a drink while I blog about things I’ll probably never publish. I sit outside every night and relax while traffic and volleyball and people coming and going happens around me. I play music or the Brewers radio broadcast. Some nights the sky is clear I get an amazing view of the summer sky. It’s almost perfect.

One of the blogs I’ve been wrestling with lately has been what I decided was my favorite song of all time. I’ve worked on it for about a week, writing some then deleting it all. It’s one of those that isn’t about the song at all, but a memory I associate with it. In a lot of ways it’s similar to what happened here. The song is almost inconsequential to the story. It’s a footnote.

****

A few months ago my computer took a shit on me. It had been operating terribly for months but one weekend it just fell off a cliff and I had to reformat the drive. I lost everything on it but thankfully it was an upgrade. I had the original drive in a drawer, meaning that all the documents and pictures from the last ten years weren’t lost. Last week I finally plugged that drive in and went through almost a decade’s worth of stuff I’d saved. I found stuff dating back to my sophomore year college. Pictures I’d taken with disposable cameras and scanned. Blogs I’d written and chats I’d had over AIM.

Two weeks ago I wrote about Thrice’s final show. It reminded me of my last Warped Tour. They were playing but my girlfriend’s friends had come along with us that day and one of them was being a pill and we left before they (AND THE OFFSPRING! guh) ever took the stage. Remembering that day I couldn’t help but ask myself why I didn’t put up a fight to stay. Why did I just reluctantly agree to go home instead of staying, “Uh, we’re not leaving until Thrice’s set is done.” It bothered me for days.

Then I combed through all these photos I hadn’t seen in years and found these two.

Thrice

Thrice

I’d seen Thrice two years earlier. I loved the shit outta that show. I had visual proof. I’d seen them before they broke up and while my memory obviously isn’t what it once was, I was never going to live with the regret of not having seen my favorite band.

****

Tonight I ran a search on my blog. I’ve never mentioned the song at #1 before or the weekend/night/moment I’ll always remember because of it. That isn’t to say I haven’t written about it in the past. I ran that same search on the old hard drive I mentioned above and when I did about a dozen results came up. Entries I’d written a decade ago that never saw the light of day. Blogs I’d written in the mid 2000s that are no longer online.

For some reason I’ve always kept that memory as something of importance, but it wasn’t until this last week that I’ve questioned why. What is it about this particular weekend that should have any more significance than one that thousands (millions?) of college kids experience on a regular basis? Maybe it was this specific girl. Maybe it’s because it was unique to me as opposed to common by others.

Maybe I just really fucking love this song?

My goal as a writer here is to make you understand what was going through my head and heart and appreciate what was going on back then. Put you in my shoes and hopefully forget that what went down really wasn’t unique, at least to others. That’s the challenge of this post. As difficult as it’s going to be, I’d love for readers to fall in love (maybe?) the way I did.

Blog forthcoming. Eventually. I can’t end this list at #2.

Your life as a set of quotes

For as long as I can remember my dad has had the same three quotes printed on simple white paper and framed in his offices. Pictures and awards and art from his kids have come and gone, but those same three quotes remained and followed him from job to job. When I’d visit his office I’d see them every time. At first I’d had to re-read them, eventually I knew them by heart.

When I got my first office I printed them off and hung them on my walls. No frills, same helvetica text on three separate white sheets of paper, same simple black frames. If it was good enough for my old man it was good enough for me.

Here they are:

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.

Somewhere else in Africa a lion wakes up and knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.

Morale: It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle: when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.

~ Anonymous

I can’t run and probably wouldn’t even if I could, but I’m pretty sure this wasn’t referring to a five k.

I am growing very weary of being shown the light by people who can’t do what I do, but know I’m not doing it right.

~ Dick Johnson, author

Easily the most ballsy thing you can hang on your walls, but probably the most apt for any professional. Weary is putting it likely, in my opinion.

The things you learn in maturity aren’t simple things such as acquiring information and skills. You learn not to engage in self-destructive behavior. You learn not to burn up energy in anxiety. You learn how to manage your tensions, if you have any, which you do.

You learn that self-pity and resentment are among the most toxic of drugs. You find that the world loves talent but pays off on character.

You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you; they are thinking about themselves. You learn no matter how hard you try to please, some people are not going to love you — a lesson that is at first quite troubling and then really quite relaxing.

~ John Gardner

This has always been my favorite and while I don’t live by any set of words on a page, I find myself falling back on this more than I’d like. I struggle with it, on multiple fronts. I’m thirty years old and often do more harm to myself than I wish I would. I still have those sleepless nights when I’m worrying about something I could have handled days ago. I should probably be on medication because of how little I sleep. Better living through science, y’all.

But there are two passages that have always stuck more than any other, and I can’t even begin to describe how much they will help you in your life.

The first bolded sentence is something I’ve built my entire life around. Maybe not as a result of seeing this after walking to my dad’s office in elementary school, but by being raised to be a good, thoughtful person. I believe in being good to others. Being tolerant and mindful of people’s feelings. Treating those you meet the way you would like to be treated. Just being fucking honest.

I don’t believe in karma. I don’t believe things happen for a reason in the sense that everything is inexorable. But I think by just being a good person with high character will only make your life better. I’ve seen it paid off time and time again.

The second bolded quote, however, is probably the important one. You can be a good person. You can be open and tolerant and mindful and reasonable and kind. But there are those out there who aren’t. They’re racist. Two-faced. Intolerant. Judgmental.

Oh, fuck it: they’re just really shitty, miserable human beings.

It’s one thing to try and please others. To be kind to everyone and mindful of people you meet. But you have to know that there are really crappy people out there. They’re the ones beyond reproach. Do not burn up anxiety over these people. Do not worry about someone awful. Do not go home from work stressing over the co-worker who probably kills their pets or knows they aren’t loved by their own spouse. You can maybe feel pity for these awful people, but above all else, just feel good that you are not them.

Then just fucking smile and forget about it.