[Originally posted on Trimmings, my now-abandoned Tumblr blog]
Pasta is one of those foods I’ve never had any drive to make for myself. I’ve assisted ambitious friends once or twice in pasta production, which is messy and gets flour everywhere–just like rolling out sugar cookies, but the main difference is that after you roll out cookies you get cookies (and then you can cut them into shapes and decorate them!) and after you roll out pasta you just get pasta, which is not even my favorite form of grain.
But I was short on groceries and short of funds. The one thing I have plenty of is time. So I thawed a package of frozen spinach and got to work.
I had a “how to make spinach pasta” pin on my Pinterest board, but I like to look at more than one recipe to see what they have in common. Here is the thing most pasta recipes have in common: equipment. Most folks blogging about homemade pasta own at least one if not all of the following: a Cuisinart or similarly reputable and capacious processor. A dough hook or paddle attachment for said processor. A pasta roller. Some recipes, including the one I pinned, observe airily that pasta has been made since before such tools were invented so of course it’s possible to do it all by hand.
And it is possible. But arguably not worth the bother. Pasta dough can be very firm, and it took a lot of upper body strength just to wrestle it into a relatively submissive dough ball that would roll smoothly instead of cracking and crumbling. After all that, I didn’t have much strength or patience to roll it out thinly for cutting. I rolled a bit too thick and cut a bit too wide, so I ended up with thick pasta snakes instead of wide flat noodles.
If there is a lesson to be learned here, it’s that some things just aren’t worth doing the hard way.
On the other hand, the pasta snakes were salvageable. My neighbor came over and we boiled them and dressed them in a garlicky wine sauce, and they were at least filling if not aesthetically pleasing–my intrepid neighbor claimed she enjoyed them. Later, I would cut up the snakes into fat little square dumplings and use them in something else.
And since I had the flour on hand and a nice clear counter for rolling, we went ahead and made sugar cookies too. The dough was soft and obedient, and working together we had it cut into aesthetically pleasing shapes and baked in very short order.