Making Pasta

Making Pasta

This weekend I made pasta with a friend.  

I picked an apron from her travels to Ecuador. It was a hand embroidered apron of women watching a volcano, based on an Ecuadorian story.  

 

We poured a wine glass to share 

and a glass for our loved ones who have gone before us.  

 

We piled flour on a clean counter 

cracked eggs in a well  

and mixed it with a fork  

and our hands.  

 

She showed me how to knead the dough 

with rough vigor to build the gluten 

and how to tell when the dough is elastic enough 

by breaking a little piece to see how much it stretches. 

and then we let it rest.  

 

Next, we made the sauce. We chopped onions, minced garlic, nearly burned the oil, and had to turn the stove off. Then we added the onions and garlic, turned the stove back on, added some tomato paste, and let it all combine.  

“Now we are ready for my favorite smell,” she said as she poured the wine into the pot of garlic, onions, and tomato paste.  

I stuck my head over the pot and wafted the warm smell to my nose. It smelled of tomatoes and wine and garlic and home and onions and sweet love from ancestors before us. She added cans of whole tomatoes and crushed them with her hands in the pot, removing the stems. We talked about things we have patience for and things we did not. We added the spices, tasted the amazing garlic-forward sauce, turned the heat down low, and then went back to the pasta.  

 

She poked the elastic ball of dough 

and chopped it into small 

somewhat equal 

pieces.  

 

“See how you can see that the gluten has formed?” she showed me the knitted network that had formed in the dough.  

 

We rolled each little ball of dough out 

one by one  

into long rectangular pieces, 

feeding them through a pasta machine to  

stretch                out                long                and                thin, 

piling them on top of each other 

with a pool of flour in between 

so they did not stick.  

 

Then we fed them back through the pasta machine connected to the kitchen aid.  

It was fast and efficient. 

The dough slid out of the palm of our hand 

pulled 

into the machine 

and fell into our other hand 

like hair slipping through our fingers.  

Flour and little strands of runaway noodles were everywhere 

on the counter 

on the floor 

on our aprons, 

the women’s hair on my apron turned white from  

volcanic ash  

or age  

or making pasta. 

 

The excitement was building, 

a rumbling that may have been seismic 

or the giant pot of boiling water

or just my stomach. 

 

We pulled apart the noodles, 

as we put them in the water, 

so they did not stick. 

 

We took our aprons off and hung them up for another time 

thanking them for their service  

keeping our clothes clean from the flour. 

 

We tasted the sauce and added some more salt, red pepper flakes, and a little bit of this and that. We picked out bowls; this time pretty hand-painted imagery from Italy. I held a bowl while she poured the sauce in 

 and it splashed. 

The irony of having just taken my apron off 

sparing the women from a blood bath  

of tomatoes and wine and garlic 

and home and onions and  

sweet love from ancestors before us. 

 

We were more careful pouring the drained noodles from the pot into a matching bowl.  

 

We sat at the table.  

She took the extra glass  

for our loved ones who have gone before us 

we thanked them.

Salut! 

 

~Hannah

5 Comments

  1. Stuart J TenHoor

    Such a great story/poetic writing/mouthwatering descriptions!

    We saw/did pasta making after our 2022 UUCC Italy pilgramage. It is a wonderful, tactile event!

  2. Linda Adcox-Kimmel

    A beautiful poetic reflection, Hannah. I have been wanting to make homemade pasta but never imagined it could bring such joy.

    Thank You!

  3. Gail Thompson

    I can smell the sauce, feel the noodles, and home. Wonderful, Hannah. Wait, while I wipe my tears. Here’s to those who have gone before.

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