One weekend recently I resurrected the pasta machine my husband had purchased on Ebay 2-3 years ago, had found a spot for on our shelves, and then promptly forgot about. (To cut him a little slack, some of life's major detours did get in the way during that time.) In any case, the look on his face was priceless when one Sunday night, I simply said "let's make our own pasta tonight!"
We have done so 5 times now, both enjoying the process and learning something each time. We are getting it down to a method, more of an art than a science, and can predict that we'll be eating ~2 hours after we haul out the machine. In fact, we have become confident "enough" that we have made pasta 3 times with good friends, once even hauling the machine down to Tennessee!
The recipes are endless but are more or less the same. You can look anywhere on the web for recipes and instruction. We have now purchased The Pasta Bible off Ebay for $1.00. The choice of sauces is also endless but again can be very very simple (we love using our homemade pesto and Zesty Italian sauce), just serving with some great bread and salad, plus of course, no Italian meal would be complete without wine. In fact our friends in Tennessee had a cute sign up in their kitchen using a play on words that said "Too much wine spoils the cook!". We have consumed our share of wine, but I don't think it spoiled any of the cooks. :-)
I don't think either of us have a smidgeon of Italian genes, but we may find that pasta making will become a new tradition in our family. So far, we have only made enough in one evening to eat that night (with a little left over if we're lucky to eat during the week), but I expect that soon we'll attempt a "pasta day" in which we try making enough for a month or so. Our younger son's girlfriend says that her Italian grandmother does this, and when we asked if her grandmother uses a drying rack, she just laughed and told us that they don't bother with that and just drape it over all the chairs and beds in the house to dry!
We have experimented with incorporating ground flaxseed and white whole wheat flour but don't feel we have perfected those recipes yet. Next we're going to try adding spinach and other veggies. I also want to take a field trip to Westwind MIlling in Linden, MI, to purchase locally grown organic flours. It is fun to learn something new (isn't that what life and especially the gift of cancer survivorship is all about?), enjoy homemade healthy and yummy food for a fraction of the cost of purchasing the ingredients in the grocery store or restaurant, cook together with my husband (even in our small and awkwardly designed kitchen), have something to plan for, and to have something to share with others.
Let's take a minute to give thanks for our food and the farmers who grew it, and then, yes, please pass the pasta!
As our bodies are sustained with this food,
May our hearts be nourished
With true friendship
And our souls fed with truth.
~~From A Grateful Heart
Diana Dyer, MS, RD