Back to the Food: making pasta the really, really hard way.

i bet dr. brown knew how to make pasta

I think the booming “eat local, organic food” mantra ultimately boils down neither to stemming fossil fuel emission, nor supporting local farmers by shopping at the nearby farmer’s market, nor going “chemical free” or “gmo free”, but rather to a fundamental desire to know where our food comes from.

I say this because this is how I came across it – I felt a deep desire to figure out how to make food. And not just “throw sauce in a pan, heat, and serve in 7-10 minutes”, or “be sure to take burrito out of plastic before microwaving”, but real food. I decided I should be capable of making an entire meal from scratch: I would start off with a generic pasta dinner.

So, I started with what I thought would be relatively simple – I would make my own pasta:

  • Step 1: Find pasta maker
  • Step 2: Buy pasta maker
  • Step 3: Make pasta
  • Step 4: Hand crank out that sweet, sweet fresh pasta
  • Step 5: Admire pasta. You deserve it.

For two months, as much as I wanted Step 4-5, I couldn’t get past Step 2; the only stores in Vancouver that sold hand-pasta makers (very few) sold them for $60-70+. I couldn’t bring myself to spend that sort of cash to make something I could buy on sale for a few bucks a box.

So, I waited. During Christmas, I found a cheap ($40) maker at West Edmonton Mall – the roller coasting, mini golfing, fantasy hoteling, dual submarining, Mall of America rivaling glory hole for shoppers:

pasta maker

Excellent! Step 3 ‘ho! After finding a pasta recipe online and making a few of my own adjustments to make the whole wheat variety, I was off and running – it really wasn’t that difficult. Yes, it takes times. Lots of time (for 5 meals worth or the ravioli shown below, it took ~1.5-2 hours in total). And also a bit of culinary common sense that only comes from practice, but it is doable. After perusing the Granville Island market for fresh pasta ideas, I devised what I thought would be a delicious combination: roasted fingerling potatoes and garlic, smoked gouda cheese, and finely crushed toasted walnuts:

Pasta stages

Although you can drop $20-30 on a metal tray that will pump out a dozen or more small ravioli at a time (like this one), I decided to buy a 2″ diameter punch for $3.99. Although it takes a little more time to finish up, I think bigger ravioli are more *ahem* impressive.

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Dave Semeniuk spends hours locked up in his office, thinking about the role the oceans play in controlling global climate, and unique ways of studying it. He'd also like to shamelessly plug his art practice: