First, out of my ten or so basic cookbooks in the kitchen bookcase, only three had recipes for pasta. Sauces and accompaniments galore, which I love to create without a recipe, but basic pasta recipes were scant. So back to the basics I went. James Beard had a recipe, and so did the Joy of Cooking, as did my 1950 and 1970 issues of Betty Crocker. None of my chi-chi cookbooks had any recipes at all.
So my niece Madison and I pulled out Betty and made the noodle recipe. Maybe we didn’t knead it enough, maybe it didn’t rest long enough, maybe we didn’t roll it thin enough. Whatever the error of our way, our pasta was tough, chewy and less than the vision I had when I dreamed of making my own pasta. The sauce was judged worthy enough to cover the multitude of ills and both Maddie and her mother said the pasta was acceptable. I’ve had dang good pasta and know it wasn’t.
So now I’m on a quest for the perfect pasta recipe. While I was up in the mountains at a family get-together last week, Vicki’s coffee table sported the Thomas Kellar’s cookbook, Ad Hoc at Home, where I found a recipe for pasta. I considered it – in fact I’m still considering it, not seriously, but I’m intrigued. Twelve egg yolks, 1 egg and 2ish cups of flour. Twelve egg yolks? Really? Thomas Keller is considered the chef’s chef, so of course I want to try it, and after all a dozen eggs is only $4, what do I have to lose? In fact, I think I must try it. I’m compelled. In the meantime, my shiny new pasta machine remains shiny and almost virginal.
I’ll report back.