It was late August when I finished a video shoot at Sarah Bode-Clark’s apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. I bombarded her kitchen one summer day to demonstrate a well-known ricotta gnudi dish without realizing that I would be left with over 2 cups of perfectly usable semolina flour. Semolina flour is really good for making pasta (as shown in this episode of Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!), and decidedly the best for entertaining my close circle of friends, including my husband; they all really appreciate when pasta is on the menu. I don’t like to waste food unnecessarily, and it was that thought that spurred my efforts to try my hand at pappardelle. I searched with a fervor for the easiest online recipe for leftover semolina flour.
It became quite clear to me, when I came across the world’s most effortless recipe for homemade pasta, that this was that heavenly window of opportunity for me to remove the bowl of flour I kept in the fridge for well over 2 weeks, freeing up much needed space, and finally making that homemade pasta I’ve been dreaming about. You see, homemade pasta is the type of project you want to commit to when you’re absolutely sure you have the time and energy. After all, it can be very messy, and, well, “kneady”.
Eggs and semolina flour. Add a little water, if necessary.
Now I understand how Emeril Lagasse’s infamous “bam!” came about. It wasn’t for upping the garlic ante. It was for making magic with two ingredients. I picture myself with a bag of flour in one hand, a couple of eggs in the other, pressing them together, and BAM! Large, fat ribbons of pappardelle draped between my fingers. Brooklyn, EAT your heart out!
Tomato sauce (2 – 3 servings):
- 1 – 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 -3 thin slices of speck, cut into bits
- splash of sherry vinegar
- 2/3 cup of store-bought tomato basil sauce
- dash of clove (optional)
- dash of nutmeg (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon of parsley, roughly chopped
Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil on medium/low heat until softened and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add bits of speck and raise heat slightly. Splash a little sherry vinegar and let sizzle for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add tomato sauce and season with a dash of clove and nutmeg (optional). Let sauce simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
While tomato sauce is simmering, start boiling water. Add a touch of salt and oil to the water. Carefully drop the ribbons of pappardelle to the boiling water, shaking the pan a bit to loosen up strands. Allow to boil for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. Drain and quickly stir in a spoon of the tomato sauce to keep pasta from sticking. To plate, add pappardelle onto a heated plate and spoon tomato sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle chopped parsley over dish.