Is there a foodie version of the Gap Yah boy? You know, an incredibly annoying toff that loves to enthuse about jamon iberico, will only eat Pierre Herme macarons, insists that pesto should be made from scratch, darling, right down to having your hunky Italian gardener crush the basil leaves for you.
I think I am that guy.
Darlings, you absolutely must rush out and buy a pasta machine. Seriously. Yah.
Fresh pasta. Long squiggly noodles tangling themselves around your fork, laughably long. Eased with butter, hiding pockets of parmesan in their knotty depths. That beautiful stretchy silky quality, the yellow that only comes from real egg yolks.
Fresh. Pasta. (I’m fighting the urge to capitalise all of these letters, so much do I want to impress its genius upon you.) In twenty minutes, seriously, from egg and flour and boiling water to bowl of buttery filaments. Less time than it would take to walk anywhere and buy anything delicious. (Unless you live next door to the falafel place, I’ll allow you that.) In the time it takes to boil a large pan of water.
Simple maths. One egg, one hundred grams of flour per person. Mix, knead, crank it through the pasta machine (like playing with a plasticine maker! or a torture device). Drop the pasta straight in boiling water.
The flatmate laughed at me as I manically wound pasta sheets. I am a better Italian than she is, so ridiculously delighted by the idea of such simple food. She shut up when she tried them. Stamp of approval.
Be amazed. Or not. I don’t care, I like my elitist food bubble. As long I have eggs, flour and butter I may never bother to buy normal food again.
Fresh tagliatelle with butter, pepper and parmesan
serves two, just about
200g flour, type ’00’ (or bread flour would do)
2 large eggs
(a little extra water / flour just in case)
hunk of butter
bigger of hunk of parmesan, grated
salt for the pasta water
Put on a large pot of water to boil. Salt generously.
Make a well in the flour, crack the eggs in it. Mix, knead. Add a drop of water or a touch of flour until it forms a smooth golden ball that won’t stick to your hands. Flatten. Leave to rest for a little while, covered in clingfilm.
Winding the handle (or pressing the button, if you have an electric one) push the pasta through the machine on its widest setting. Fold in half, turn a quarter turn and roll it out again. Repeat. (This activates the gluten, makes it stretchy.) Now roll it through several times, decreasing the thickness each time. You might need a helper to catch the pasta sheet coming out the other side. Or cut in half and carry on. If it sticks, flour the rollers slightly.
When you get to 5 or 6 out of 7, stop. (The finest setting is for the very delicate angel’s hair.) If you haven’t already, cut the sheet into 3 or 4 parts. Attach the cutting device (not sure what it’s called) and push through the fat tagliatelle setting. Make sure to catch the noodles as they come out. Drape them over an open cupboard door or the back of a chair until you are ready to cook, nicely separated or they will stick.
Drop pasta into madly boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, maximum. Drain (reserve a little pasta water) then toss with lots of butter, cheese, pepper. Add a splash of the water if it looks too dry.
Eat straightaway. Really actually.
P.S. Pasta machines only cost about 30 quid on Amazon…