Yep Pasta. As in noodles: fettucine, pappardelle, spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna. It’s all about the noodles and I want to know my noodles!
You may ask why? Why not buy the dry stuff, or the fresh stuff you can now purchase reasonably priced at most grocery stores? Why? I’ll tell you why.
Pasta perfection. I dream about the most perfect bowl of pure pasta precision I have ever had. It was in Slovenia, of all places, and handmade by a Frenchman; my friend Raymond. I’m sure you thought I was going to say in Italy, by an Italian. But no, this superior bowl of pasta transcended anything I ever had in Italy.
I have a theory as to why this particular bowl of pasta reigns supreme in all my culinary adventures: love. Yep. Love. This beautiful handmade fettucine was made with love. Lovingly mixed, kneaded, rolled and hand-cut by a dear friend specifically for our mid-day dining pleasure. I have a distinct memory of the smells coming from the kitchen as we waited in the cool sitting room near the harbor in Piran Slovenia. It was hot outside and the door was open out on to the quiet street. I remember we applauded when the beautiful bowl of deliciousness was presented at the table. I remember the smooth texture in my mouth. I remember enjoying seconds and I believe eventually thirds. This memory includes laughter, conversation of English and French and the international language of good food and wine. I had never eaten anything so delicious, and have dreamed of recreating it ever since.
Today I made my third attempt at homemade noodles. I may be getting the hang of it. In addition to the ingredients of flour and eggs, any pasta-making recipe needs to include the ingredients of patience and love. In my fabulous fifties I now have the ability and time to pour both love and patience into something so simple as hand-made pasta.
My third attempt today ended triumphantly in a delicious Mushroom Lasagna made with my homemade lasagna noodles, fresh from the rolling pin, Portobello and Shitake mushrooms, béchamel sauce, Romano and Parmesano cheese.
It was close. But still not quite there yet, to match my “I dream of pasta” moment. But I’ll get there. And even if I don’t, it will always give me something to strive for. And a perfect memory to savor.