homemade pasta bliss

Pasta

After a crazy couple of weekends of moving, hosting and cleaning, I was really ready to kick back this weekend and try some new skills in the kitchen. Enter, homemade pasta making.

I know, I know. Pasta is so cheap, does it really make sense to make it homemade? In short, yes. Yes, it does. Homemade pasta is silky and delicious in a way that dried pasta could never even imagine. I made 3 batches (like 734 servings of pasta) and I’ve almost eaten it all. I know this says a lot more about my eating habits than the recipe, but trust me when I say, this stuff is legit.

If you’re fancy and rich, a Kitchen Aid mixer makes this process go a million times faster. If you’re a little bit of a cheap, white-trash rat (like myself) you can borrow a manual pasta roller from your unsuspecting friend who asked you to please watch her cats for the weekend, not rifle through her kitchen cabinets for supplies. Your call.

The manual roller has a few benefits – first and most importantly, you can watch Jurassic World on your tablet in our kitchen without the motor of a Kitchen Aid distracting you from Chris Pratt’s thighs. If that’s not reason enough, a manual roller will also make you feel like an Italian grandmother and your arms and back will be a little sore the next day. #functionalfitness

So, here you go – the simplest, most delicious recipe for homemade pasta. Each batch yields about 6 servings of pasta for a normal human being, or 3 servings if your appetite resembles mine. Trust me, just triple it. (pro tip: it freezes super well too!)

Homemade Pasta Recipe

1 cup flour (for the dough)

¼ cup quality olive oil (seriously, just splurge here at the store)

1 egg + 2 egg yolks

1 cup flour reserve (for flouring your rolling pin/counter/obnoxious cat)

Dash of salt

Glass of wine (for drinking, not for the recipe)

Begin by taking one cup of flour and dumping it on the counter. Get comfortable with the fact that this is going to be messy. Create a little bit of a reservoir in the middle of the flour, pretend you’re making a flour volcano. Make sure the hole is big enough to hold all of the liquid we’re going to add shortly. When in doubt, make it a bit bigger. *

In a separate bowl, beat together the egg and 2 egg yolks. Really go for it. Pretend they’re your ex-boyfriend who cheated on you with their coworker.

Back to the “Ring of Flour” – sprinkle a dash of salt on the flour, extra points if you throw a bit behind your left shoulder for good luck. Take a sip of wine, you’ve earned it.

Add the olive oil and eggs t0 the middle of the volcano (picture this liquid as your lava – it helps, I promise!) and begin to mix the liquid and dry ingredients with your finger.

Work your dough until it begins to form a ball. Add flour to the surface as needed so it doesn’t stick.

Now here comes the work. Once you have your dough ball (not your cat, the literal dough ball!) spend the next 5 minutes rage-kneading the hell out of it. Put on some hardcore music and go to town. Use that palm. Picture that ex. Create the pasta this world deserves.

Next, cover the dough with a cloth and go chill with your glass of wine for 5 minutes. Dream of Chris Pratt’s thighs. Wonder when people will figure out that trying to put dinosaurs in an amusement park is a bad idea.

Come back to your dough with a little buzz and get ready to roll! Whether you’re using a Kitchen Aid or a hand roller, the first few steps are the same. Take 1/3 of your dough and flatten it down with your palm so it resembles a thin pancake.

Make sure your pasta roller is on the widest setting (for some rollers that’s a level 9, for others they start at 1 – no need to read instructions, just move the dial until the rollers are at their widest).

Run your dough pancake through the widest setting. Then take the dough and fold it into thirds and run it through again. Do this 3 times on the widest setting. You want to get those delicious doughy layers.

Next take your rolled dough and move the dial down to the next widest setting. Run the dough through 3 times. Repeat this step until you have gotten through all the settings and you can see your hands through the dough when you hold it up to the light. Pat yourself on the back because that was a lot of work.

Next, cut your thin dough strip into a few pieces so it’s not super long (unless you’re going for a Lady and the Tramp vibe where people need to suck their pasta up!) and run it through the cutter attachment to your roller (or your Kitchen Aid if you are a trust fund baby).

Toss your beautiful ribbons in a ton of flour so they don’t stick together. Seriously, so much flour. Otherwise they will melt together and will become a pasta blog which, while still probably delicious, is not the vibe we’re going for here.

Do this one million more times with the rest of your dough to have sufficient pasta for the weekend.

To cook:

Just throw in a pot of boiling water for about a minute (2 minutes if you’ve frozen your pasta like that badass meal planner that you are) and then toss with store bought sauce for a meal that will impress even the most grumpy of mother-in-laws.

*Great life advice in general

 

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MCA Denver Black Sheep Fridays

Girl in Museum

I’ve always loved museums, the feeling of being on sacred ground, the precious things, the food court. And I’m lucky enough to live in Denver, a town whose museum and cultural scene is blowing up. It’s not just stuffy, dark mineral halls either. Lately it’s really cool, thoughtful exhibitions and experiences that are drawing out people who might not immediately associate a Friday night museum visit with outlandish fun.

MCA Denver, our contemporary art museum, continues to crush it with an event they call “Black Sheep Fridays” – it’s a themed (!!!) evening that ranges from “Spam Poetry” where they had local Denver poets read guests’ spam emails (as amazing as it sounds) to an event where you can make a cake with the artist/actor/rapper Drake’s face on it. Magic. Pure, totally weird magic. Plus, this experience comes with a band, a bar, and access to all the museum exhibits for the insanely low price of $5.

I adore everything about this idea – with Black Sheep Fridays, MCA Denver shows a sense of humor about art that gives people an access point. It’s fun and quirky, but it also exposes world class contemporary art to the guy who might have just come to the event because of the bar and live music. Maybe the dude will drink his beer and split, but maybe he’ll take a moment and look at piece and think about how it makes him feel. MCA Denver is meeting people where they are and opening its doors wide to any riff raff (i.e. myself) who are looking for something cheap to do on a Friday night. It’s taking the museum out of the ivory tower and into the weird, crunchy alley for everyone to enjoy.

I love it so much. Stay strange, MCA Denver.

*Just to clarify: I adore the mineral halls at Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I always make the same joke to my beloved that I’m making my Christmas list when we’re going by the gems and we laugh and laugh. **

**No one laughs at that joke but me. And I make it every single time.