“Tutto quello che vedete, lo devo agli spaghetti.” Sophia Loren holds the hearts of many due to her beauty and grace, and quite frankly this statement. I find it empowering and inspiring to look at pasta without the carbo-phobe induced judgment of contemporary anti-pastaites. Pasta is an international treasure. Not only is it delicious, comforting, and flexible, it is also a teacher, confident, and friend. I truly enjoyed eating pasta as a child. My mother was ingenious when it came to “repurposing” tortellini or spaghetti. I never have, nor will ever, grow bored of pasta. However it was not until I was a bit older did I understand its depth; its power; its ability to teach. Pasta, fresh pasta at that, has taught me much about life, love, and happiness.
Flour and water changed my life. From the moment I attempted my first homemade fresh pasta, I knew there were broader goals in life for me than my current situation. Some may have viewed it as a quarter life crisis, but I knew it there was plan that would evolve. A plan that included, if not driven, by flour and water. Although it took a few years, I followed my inner Pastafarian and ended up moving to Italy for some time. This is the fourth or fifth edition of this written passage. I have come back to it so many times, for various reasons. Each time it provides me with a framework of who I am and a compass of where I am going. Yes, because of pasta.
Almost 15 years ago I took on a second job as a waitress in Boston to supplement my mortifying “salary” as a teacher. Low and behold, my inner foodie was born. This renaissance altered not only my taste, but my smell, my sight, my hearing, my touch. It transformed my life. My buds and I never looked back. The world of food and wine… oh, the places you’ll go.
Life continued, as it does, and a few years later I made another life changing decision, well purchase really. Enter: my baby, my love, my Kitchen Aid Stand Up Mixer in all her Pewter majesty. She stood proudly and protective over my cubicle of a kitchen, warding off intruders, yet welcoming me open armed day in and day out. The first month proved to be boot camp for my new love. She continually amazed me, congratulated me in my successes, and picked me up in my failures. Little did I know there was more in my future. That fateful Sunday, my credit card will never forget its introduction to Mr. Williams Sonoma. Hello 3 Piece Roller and Cutter pasta attachments, welcome to my family. You were (are) so worth it. Sweet, baby Jesus… Fresh pasta? Can I get an amen?
Perfection in simplicity. Bruce Lee said “Be like water my friend.” Although I love this quote, I instead insist… Be… like pasta. Sure you can change the shape, the flavor, and stuff it with most anything… but in its most simple form, the form from which all these fancy forms are born, is truly just flour and water. That is all perfection needs. Think about that. How can we be, more, like pasta?
Life Lessons Pasta Has Taught Me
Patience is a virtue – I remember hearing these words often out of my mother’s mouth growing up. However it wasn’t until I ventured into pasta making did I truly understand. Kneading the dough takes time, allowing the dough to rest is necessary. Rushing through any step of pasta making takes away from the end result.
Less is more – It is not necessary to dress pasta up with as many bells and whistles as you may think. The taste of pasta itself is delicious and should only be enhanced by the accompanying flavors, not hidden by it. In a world that emphasizes more is more, think about the benefits of less is more.
Utilize your senses – Making fresh pasta is a lesson in our senses. We rely on each of our senses when cooking in general, but with pasta, the dough invites our sense of touch to fully engage. The connection of hand to dough is liberating and satisfying. Sometimes it is best to think less, and feel more.
Trust in tradition – Pasta has been around for thousands upon thousands of years. It has truly withstood the test of time. Flour and water transends and unify cultures. This deeply rooted culinary tradition is one from which we can all continue to learn. Pasta roots run deep…respect.
Mistakes are blessing – Pasta is forgiving. There are so many varieties, shapes, sizes, and purposes to pasta that even with a “mistake,” you may really have just created the next best taste! Mistakes are simply opportunities to learn and grow; both in and out of the kitchen.
Let’s be real though, dry pasta has a place in this world. A very important place. But if you haven’t had (made) pasta fresca, you are doing a large disservice to yourself. Please trust me. Let me prove it to you. Join Casa Mia and our newly developed Pasta Club to not only have fun and create deliciously beautiful pasta with your own hands. But to learn, grow, and be… like pasta. Perfection in Simplicity. Calling all you Pastafarians! Let’s do this.