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Fresh Egg Pasta

January 14, 2011

The days are going wonderfully, and it’s being so enjoyable to wake up every morning with no deadlines looming over me.  It’s just about working out perfectly to cook three meals, do a reasonable number of chores, create a few kid-friendly fast snacks, play for a good long while, attack one item on my giant, ongoing to-do list, and get in about 30 minutes of pure me-time (thanks to babies needing naps and pre-schoolers needing computer games) each day before Richie comes home.  The dinners I’ve been getting on the table are consistent and awesome, but still easy and very much in my style of homemade and local.  Yesterday I had time to put a lasagna together, including making the homemade noodles, and I didn’t even break a sweat.  It timed out great.

There are exceptions to this bliss, though, and the trick is finding my way through (or around) them so that I don’t go crazy.

I’m really missing Richie right now, and it’s because of his job and completely unavoidable.  I actually was feeling pretty sad today, like maybe a little down in the dumps, and I mentioned it to Richie.  He said he was sorry we couldn’t be together more, and that was really the first time it occurred to me that his absence could be the source of my malaise.  That’s good, that he spotted it and we identified it before it turned into some sort of mental health situation, but, that’s bad, that I am to that level of dependence on Richie.

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit this, but I am a loyal reader of Goop, and I read something striking in the latest newsletter.  See, Gwyneth and her friends wrote a day in the life-type profiles about working and being moms and stuff.  I liked reading them, they were cool, I wish I had a nanny, and also a bathtub big enough for me and both of my kids.  But anyway, what sort of stuck with me is that GP never once mentioned her kids’ dad, and I mentioned that to Richie, and he mentioned “that’s what it’s like to be married to a musician” and that was the end.

But, I am thinking about myself now, and you see, even before my new supermom-thing, I was alone with the kids quite a bit.  I mean, quite a bit more than their dad.  Because being married to an actor is a little like being married to a musician in that where my husband works is where other people go to have fun and so his fun time is frequently happening elsewhere.  I mean, let’s not get ridiculous- it’s nothing like being married to the lead singer of a world-touring rock band, but there is a fair amount of loneliness, of doing-this-on-my-ownness.

My husband sometimes feels a little left out, I suspect, that we have our thing down without him.  After a show, for those couple of weeks that he’s just here every night, we all settle back into our world of four, and it’s co-parenting city.  But it’s obviously a little hard on him when he comes home after the kids are in bed and he didn’t get to eat with them or bathe them or tuck them in.  On days like today he sees them for about 2 hours, total, and that has got to be just so uncool.

On the other side of the situation, there’s me.  And my entire day is filled with the quest to fill the day.  Of course, chores and cooking and feeding take up a large portion of the day, but there’s got to be music and art and reading and play and rest and tickling and snuggling and structured and unstructured and sometimes, I am just at a loss.  I mean, it’s not like I have a DEGREE in EARLY CHILDHOOD STUFF.  I’m just some lady who got knocked up twice.  What qualifies me for this?

I guess this is the sort of problem that mothers and wives have had for decades, and I guess the central question is this: what happens to me and to my relationship if my kids become my main source of companionship?  What happens when the three of us spend waaay more time with each other, in every combination, than any of us does with dad?

It’s probably not that big of a deal, actually, because I’m sure tons of families deal with that balance, and it’s just that, a balance.  But it’s new for me, previously working right alongside my husband and being with him so much, sending our kids elsewhere.  This is a whole new balance.

***

Like I mentioned, dinners have been the BOMB, if I do say so… I’m having time to tweak things I’ve previously only scratched the surface on.  Already this week, I’ve had the opportunity to go back and try multiple recipes I’ve only attempted once before. My homemade noodles are becoming my signature dish, they are so tasty and specifically great.  Soft but not mushy, flavorful.

I’ve been cooking a lot of Mark Bittman recipes lately, and so decided to try his egg pasta recipe.  I usually use James Peterson’s, with tweaks, but I’ve been noticing lately that I just can’t get that dough to roll out the way I like it.  No matter how much I change it, eggs and flour, I just can’t quite get it.  The major difference between Bittman and Peterson is the egg white to yolk ratio.  At first, I followed Bittman’s recipe exactly, but after the dough was mixed, I felt that it needed just a little more umph, and so I added one more egg yolk.  Perfection!

When these noodles were dry, I thought they seemed a little too brittle; they broke more easily than other homemade noodles I’d made.  After baking in a hot layery smoosh of sausage, ground beef, tomato sauce (thanks to my friend Beth’s last-summer garden) and cheese (I mixed ricotta, cottage, and shredded cheddar) they came out of the oven soft and delicious.  Something about them reminded me of soup noodles, but they still held onto their shape.  In essence, they were perfect!  I can’t wait to try them in another shape- stuffed pasta, perhaps?

(PS- I roll pasta dough with my kick ass kitchen-aid mixer because I’m deeply in love with it.  Have you ever made fresh pasta by hand and how excruciating is it?)

Fresh Egg Pasta (adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 whole large eggs
4 egg yolks

Combine the flour and salt in the bowl and mix.  Add eggs and yolks all at once and mix on slow (1 or 2).  Knead on 2 or 3 just until a ball starts to form, about a minute. Add a few drops of water if the dough is too grainy.  Add a pinch of flour if the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl.

Sprinkle the dough with flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Roll it through your pasta maker, thickest to thinnest (I got this all the way to the thinnest setting), sprinkling flour as needed.  I actually added about another 1/4 cup of flour to this batch, all told.

Cut it into noodles (I just left mine rough and wide).  Dry the pasta for up to two hours, cook right away, or freeze it.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 15, 2011 7:41 AM

    We made fresh pasta last fall and kneaded the dough by hand. Easy peasy. Don’t fear.

    Do you use a pasta attachment on the Kitchen Aid? I have been curious if they work well.

    • Syreeta permalink
      January 15, 2011 9:07 AM

      Oh yes, the pasta attachments are easy and wonderful. I love them. Highly recommended.

      Now, I still can’t get that ice cream attachment to work. Any suggestions? Anyone? It seems like my dasher is too small or something. Hmmm.

      • January 15, 2011 10:20 AM

        If you tried this ignore me but you may want to read through the ice cream attachment reviews on Amazon.com. Maybe a reviewer mentions something about the fit that help you?

        Totally getting that pasta attachment soonish.

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