Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You May Cut or You May Twirl

We spent the weekend in the 'burg of B at my parents' house and were treated to some of my mom's homemade spaghetti. And I do mean homemade. The recipe is pretty simple but the cool part is watching her run the dough through her pasta machine, which once belonged to her grandfather, who came here from Italy as a little boy.

My heritage Italiano

Egg Pasta (Better Homes and Gardens, June 1989, adapted)
Makes about 1 pound uncooked pasta

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon dried dill weed, basil, or marjoram (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon olive or cooking oil

Make well with dry ingredients. Stir in eggs, water, and oil with fork. Knead until dough holds together, let rest, knead a bit more. Divide into thirds or fourths. Roll out dough on floured surface, let stand until surface dries slightly. Flour dough in between passes of machine so it doesn't get sticky. Pass through machine until smooth, gradually changing to thinner setting. Once smooth and to desired thickness, run through the cutting wheels. Lay out to dry a bit before cooking.

To cook: Bring 3 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon salt to boil. Add the pasta, a little at a time, so the water does not stop boiling. Reduce the heat and continue boiling gently, uncovered, for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Drain well in colander, shaking to remove excess water.

As if that weren't enough, she also made breadsticks.

Yankee Bread (Lancaster Farming)

2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup milk, warmed

Mix together dry ingredients. Add honey and milk. Knead five times. Turn out on floured board and roll one-half inch thick. Cut into 1-inch wide strips.

Melt 1/3 cup butter in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Roll strips of butter to coat and lay in pan. Let rise one to four hours for best results. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. Bake at 375 degrees for about 16 to 18 minutes.

All that was topped off with some homemade meatballs and pasta sauce (from a jar! gasp!). Dinner looked like this:


It really doesn't get any better than that. Except for my dad's funny spaghetti story. Spaghetti was not a staple in his house growing up (no Italians there) so one of the first times he had it was at a friend's house. He proceeded to scoop up some noodles on his fork and suck them in when he was scolded by his friend's mother: "You may cut or you may twirl, but we do not slurp in this house." He still cuts to this day. 

Do you cut, twirl, or slurp?

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