It’s been ages since I made pasta and I’d forgotten how much fun it is! What prompted this session of mixing/rolling/cutting was a recent post I read on Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, a food blog I’ve been reading for several years. Shauna’s writing is funny, insightful and smart – I like the way she looks at food and, of course, her recipes. She now collaborates with her chef-husband Danny, and together they’ve written a new cookbook called Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes, which is being published tomorrow! Her recent post invited readers to preview some of the recipes in the book ahead of time – cooking them and then reporting back. She is calling this event Dancing in the Kitchen with Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, which I see as a kind of cyber launch party/tasting/celebration for their book.
While I only had time to make one dish, it really was two recipes in one. I chose to make Pasta with anchovies, lemon, and olives.
Sifting, separating, mixing + mixing, rolling, cutting, rolling, cutting – the process of making pasta seems to me much like that of embroidery or knitting, with each tiny action adding up to make a much larger whole. Since I don’t have a pasta machine, I rolled and cut the strands by hand, making them fettuccine-size (well, large fettuccine, but I like wide noodles – and in hindsight I could have rolled the dough a bit thinner). I really do enjoy doing this kind of task, it’s both meditative and satisfying (what joy in seeing a big pile of hand-cut pasta!).
While I don’t have to eat gluten-free for health reasons, I know more and more people who do. But even without needing to, it feels like a fine idea to cut down on one’s wheat consumption considering what an overdose we get in our daily lives. I mean, it’s in everything – absolutely everything – from candy bars, to soy sauce, to lipstick. And while I’m no expert, I’m pretty sure that too much of any one thing can’t be healthy. This pasta is made from a mixture of grains that is toothsome and satisfying and is, for lack of a better word, delicious. It holds up to sauce, it twirls nicely on a fork and it boiled up in a big pot of water in around 5 minutes.
If the first part of this dish is the pasta, the second is the anchovy, lemon and olive sauce. Together they create an ephemeral combination of land and sea that brings together grainy, salty, earthy, chewy, briny and green, purple, yellow and brown elements. A delight for both eye and mouth, so many different tastes happening simultaneously. All this and a very simple preparation, to boot. Try it!