Sunday, August 15, 2010


I recently got a new book in the mail called The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food One Recipe at a Time by Ken Albala and Rosanna Nafziger. Let me tell you, I have never actually read a cookbook from front to back before, but I devoured this book in just two days during a weekend camping trip. I couldn't wait to get home and try something from this collection, and so I made the first thing I could think of which I had all the ingredients for: tagliatelle, or in other words fresh pasta cut by hand. It doesn't get much simpler than flour, egg, salt, and water. I didn't even measure anything, the beauty of most of the instructions in this book is that you make things by instinct and feel, rather than precise measurements.

Basically, you just put some flour in a bowl (I used whole wheat flour), and an egg or two (depending on how eggy you want your pasta to be, or you could even omit the egg all together), a pinch of salt, and enough water to make a stiff dough that is not sticky. Start out by mixing it with a fork and adding the water a little at a time until you get the right consistency. Then turn the mixture out onto a floured wooden board or counter top and knead for five minutes. If time allows (if not, that's okay too), let the dough sit on the counter covered with the bowl for an hour.

When it's time for dinner, put a big pot of lightly salted water on the stove to boil, and in the meantime roll out the dough and cut it. You can roll it out however thick you like, and then with a sharp knife and using the rolling pin as a guide, cut out long strips of the dough. If you have a pizza cutter, it might come in handy. In my case, some of the strips stuck together, and I had to roll some of it out again. Perhaps I should have added a little more flour. I was worried that the dough would stick together when boiling, but miraculously none of them stuck together in the water.

I have to admit, I didn't have enough energy after the camping trip to make a trip to the store so I had to resort to using a jar of tomato sauce rather than the fresh tomato sauce they suggest in the book. After making fresh pasta, this felt sacrilege! But oh well, one thing at a time, right? The pasta itself was great, nothing like the dried noodles you buy in a box. I will definitely be adding this to my regular rotation.

Top with freshly shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve with salad and a glass of wine.

Julie, I can't recommend this book enough, and it seems like something that would be right up your alley. It really has inspired me to consider trying things I never thought I would try in a million years. Like rabbit stew, roasting a whole pig on a spit fire, koji, or miso (which takes 12 months to ferment!).

1 comment:

Corrine/Frock And Roll said...

That meal looks absolutely scumptious!


blogger templates | Make Money Online