Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sunday Dinner With Friends, Marcella Style



I hadn't even gotten the dinner invitation out of my mouth, when T replied in the affirmative. "Don' t you even want to know what I'm cooking?"  She always does. "No, what time should we be there?" "Well, I'm making homemade pasta."  That got her attention.

I was inspired to make pasta after reading an essay written by Italian-cooking doyenne, Marcella Hazan, in her last cookbook, Marcella Says.  Home made pasta was something I made often back in the days when our dinner parties were more formal, when serving course after course was, well, a matter of course.  Over the years life happened, we all got a little older, and informal entertaining seemed the way to go.  And somewhere along the way I stopped making pasta.

Well now was as good a time as any to pull out my decades-old Atlas pasta machine.  You know the kind that was to be had at any Italian grocery store.  The kind that had to be clamped to the table. The kind that you had to crank. That kind of pasta machine.

I clamped the machine to the table and I took out my large wooden board.  Next I dumped the unbleached flour onto the board and made a well.  Into the well went the eggs.


The eggs were beaten with a fork with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Don't tell Marcella about the oil.  Then, little by little the flour was taken from the sides of the well incorporating the eggs.


Eventually it formed a dough which you gather into ball and begin to knead after cleaning off the board. 
Then more kneading on the widest setting of the pasta machine.
After thinning and stretching, then drying.
Cutting
And drying again

Finally, serving with Marcella's tomato sauce with onion and butter.


The pasta was light, delicious and just heavenly. I know what I said about courses, but I did follow the pasta with pesto meatballs and then a refreshing fennel and orange salad. 

My thanks to Marcella for the inspiration.

18 comments:

  1. I haven't pulled out my clamp-down, hand-cranked pasta machine in a long time---and your post has given me a firm nudge! even at this early morning hour, my mouth is watering over those ribbons dressed in tomato-onion sauce. lovely dinner.

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    1. Nancy, happy to see a fellow blogger up at the crack of dawn, too. Get that old pasta machine cranking!

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  2. Michele this recipe looks so perfect for my palate. I have not made homemade pasta for many years, but it might be time to pull out the old hand-crank pasta maker and give it another try. I think the last time I used mine it was to roll out some wet clay for a ceramic plate! Shame on me. Beautiful photo of the beloved Atlas.

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    1. I know that even Marcella now uses the food processor to mix her pasta dough. But, I find this old-fashioned way tactile and gratifying.

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  3. This sounds like a just terrific meal and just my sort of food. Lovely stuff. Also a timely reminder about orange and fennel salad - it has been too long.

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    1. Thanks, Rachel. I always love the brightness the oranges bring to the salad in the dead of winter.

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    2. Love homemade pasta and the salad looks splendi!

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  4. Wow, your pasta looks amazing! This is my kind of meal - yum!

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    1. Katie, thanks. What would we do without pasta?

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  5. My meals were much more formal before I had kids, but I never made homemade pasta. I'm impressed!

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    1. Beth, somehow kids do change everything. Don't be too impressed, though. Making pasta is a lot easier than it might look. Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. oh, boy! this looks fantastic!

    homemade pasta is something I would reeeaallly like to try, one of these day... :)

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  7. Thanks, Monica. Based on the photos of the dishes you've made, pasta would be a piece of cake for you.Give it a try.

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  8. Homemade pasta is such a special treat! My Imperia machine is 30-something years old and still rolling.

    Thanks for commenting on my recent post. I've added a link to your wonderful blog on my site.

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  9. Thanks, Sharon. We don't eat as much pasta as we used to, but there is nothing quite homemade pasta.

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  10. Fennel and citrus are my favorite things to eat in late winter/early spring in CA! I like to make a salad with raw fennel, cara cara orange slices (it's a grapefruit/orange cross), a little avocado, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. It is perfect.

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    1. Lex, that salad sounds delish.I've heard of others who love cara cara oranges. I have never come across one in New Jersey.

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