on making fresh pasta

So yeah. I got laid off. But no worries, i’m actually quite okay with this.

I went through those five stages of grief awfully quickly, in fact I think I skipped over a few of them. I went through them prior to the actual day I was told the news. the rumor mill at Big Corporate Company ran amok these last few weeks and I got confirmation from a very reliable source on the Friday before that “It” would happen. So I went home and drank this while fixing my resume and sending it out, and I made sure to use the fancy crystal.

If I had a tiara, I would have worn that too. Because that’s what girls do when they’ve had a disappointment, at least that’s what Patty tells me.

On Saturday, Patty came over and we celebrated with more bubbly and lots of cheese and bread, and we toasted the End To An Era. See, it’s not so much a big deal in the rest of the country, but the Big Corporate actually started as a small Atlanta start-up which the locals love to cherish the memories of.

Sunday I woke up and felt pretty fucking great. Well, with a wee small hangover, but you know. I spent the day making pasta. I haven’t made fresh pasta in a while, and it’s not so much that I wanted to eat the pasta as I wanted to make it. kneading pasta dough, any dough for that matter, is incredibly therapeutic. And what’s more even therapeutic than that is the action of smooshing the dough into the pasta machine and having it come out flat as anything like a steamroller on the other end. I have the attachment to the kitchen aid bitch, and I can’t even begin to express how wonderful it is. As I fed the dough through the rollers, I felt my anguish and stress evaporate. I spent a couple of hours just smooshing the dough through the rollers. Half of it wasn’t edible in the end because I over-smooshed it, but that didn’t matter to me. Later, with what dough was left, I made the tomato-pesto sauce from Patricia Wells’ Trattoria and layered it with big lasagna-sized noodles. It was fresh and delicious, although when the boy walked in to the kitchen to talk to me and I opened my mouth, he immediately made a face and waved me away.

Me: “Oh shit, does my breath stink?”
The boy: “UM YEAH okay I love you and all, but you gotta do something about that”.
Me: “Should I come sit on your lap and breathe in your face?”

Not everyone is “over” it as I am though. On Tuesday while sitting in a big room as our haggard-looking VP was laying us off, there was a girl sitting two rows behind me sobbing uncontrollably, and I felt awful for her. She’d been there longer than I had. And I was quite surprised that I too wasn’t a blubbering mess. This would be my normal course of action, I mean I cried while reading the last Harry Potter book. Somehow or another I got through my grief a lot faster than other people. I’m not in denial, I’m not angry, I’m not sad. Well, I take that last one back. I work with a lot of fantastic people and I shall miss the camaraderie, the ability to walk by my vendor manager’s desk and make farty noises and have him yell “No farting in my cube!”, and the very casual atmosphere including being able to wear ragged jeans and chuck taylor’s to work.

However, I would probably have never left Big Corporate had they not kicked me out, so this is for the best. It’s time to move on.

The ol’ resume has been dusted off and rewritten about 4 times, and i’ve even gotten a few call-backs, so i’m actually quite upbeat about this. It’s a whole new world; let me at it!

Pasta Dough

Pasta recipe was loosely adapted from various sources. Pasta dough is basically flour and egg, and i’ve seen some with salt and olive oil. I’m not so sure about that last ingredient though. I recently acquired some doppio zero flour so I used a mix of that and regular AP flour.

2 cups flour
2 eggs
pinch of salt

dump flour onto work surface and make a well in the center. Add eggs into the well and slowly, by hand, carefully mix the flour and eggs together until dough begins to form a solid-ish mass. Knead until you get to that soft smooth point, usually about 10 minutes. cover and let sit for 1 hour. Divide dough into pieces and feed through the pasta machine following the manufacturer’s directions. Usually you start on the lowest widest setting and pass the dough through several times, then go up a setting and pass dough through several times, etc etc until you get to the end. Lay pasta sheets flat or drape all over anything that will stand still (i’ve previously used chair backs, the toaster, the faucet, and the blender to drape pasta over). After a few minutes of this, cut into desired shapes and cook in liberally salted boiling water for just a couple of minutes, if that.

Adaptation of Patricia Wells’ Lasagne with Basil, Garlic, and Tomato Sauce (of course, I only made a small portion of this since it was just for me)

6 oz fresh lasagne

4 garlic cloves, minced
fine sea salt to taste
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 firm ripe tomato, peeled, cored, seeded, and chopped
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup (2 oz) freshly grated parmesan cheese

You could smoosh all this by hand in a mortar and pestle but mine isn’t very big, so I use the food processor.

Place garlic, salt, and basil in bowl of the food processor and process to a paste. Add the tomato and oil, and process again. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the cheese. Taste for seasoning.

Cook the pasta and drain. Place a rectangle of pasta in a warmed shallow soup bowl. Top it with a spoonful of the pesto and smooth out the sauce with the back of a spoon. add 2 (or 3 if you’re a glutton like me) more layers of pasta, topping each layer with a spoonful of pesto. Grate on some more parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

And finally, although most importantly, i want to wish a very happy birthday to the boy. we're celebrating later with a trip to the local churrascaria along with j and patty.

happy birthday, my love!


Ashley said…
Same here on all the work-work news. Glad you are in the acceptance and action mindset. Feel free to use me as a reference if you like.

Ashley Miller
Web: www.ashleymiller.net
NDM said…
when your blog morphs into a foodtv/pbs show, please promise to have me on as a regular guest :)
The boy said…
love you, thanks for a great b-day babe
drzachary said…
A word on Kitchenaid: the company rocks! I called them today to ask if I could order a replacement coarse plate for the meat grinder attachment, and they said 'no, but we'll ship you one for free!' :)

Merguez is in my future.

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