Yesterday morning in the kitchen, Ahuva said, “I wanna work with FLOUR.”
“Great!” I said. “We can make pasta.”
I took out a big blue bowl and put it on the low end table that is her work station. She knelt on the little white stool and helped me measure the following ingredients. First the dry, then making a well in the center we added the wet:
· 2 c. all-purpose flour (I would try substituting 1 c. whole wheat next time)
· 1 c. semolina flour (YUM!)
· ½ tsp. salt (I think it needs more)
· 2 eggs, plus 4 egg yolks, beaten together (Or, I followed the recipes suggestion and “For a nutritional boost, replace one of the eggs with ½ c. pureed beans or vegetables.” That comes to 2 2 oz. jars or one 4 oz. jar Earth’s Best baby food. I used Spinach and potato flavor and used 3 full eggs which I did not bother to beat together first).
Working with spoons and hands, we combined the ingredients and formed a stiff dough. It was not unlike play dough. But at this point Ahuva wanted to wash her hands and left me to knead the dough “until just smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes”. Well, closer to the 5.
I refrigerated the dough in a little container and took Huvie off to school.
In the evening, with lots of extra semolina flour around to sprinkle, I rolled out the dough until it was nearly paper-thin. I used a bottle to do this. Then I cut the dough in uneven strips using a pizza cutter. I was aiming for spaghetti but mostly got closer to the kind of egg noodle you put in kuggel. No matter.
It is already summer-like here and Aba and Ahuva ended up staying a very long time at the playground with many of her classmates. They came home happy, flushed, dirty and hungry.
Water boiling, I discovered that much of my laboriously cut pasta strips (it took considerably longer than the listed “30 minutes active time” to create them, especially if you discount the morning efforts of ~10 min) had turned into tangled pasta mass.
“What’s that?” asked Ahuva.
“That’s pasta,” I said, “You made it, remember? We’re going to cook it now. Here, help me untangle these.”
“Yah!” But her little hands pressed further, making doughy masses that were even more stuck.
“I wanna eat it!” she said. I let her try a bite, forgetting for a moment that it contained raw egg, remembering only the pleasure of raw dough and wanting to let her experience that.
“Mmmm, pasta!” she declared, reaching for a fist-full of dough.
“Noooooo! We have to cook it first!”. I had to confiscate the bowl. I salvaged what I could from the strips and while they boiled, set about re-forming the tangled masses with aid of bottle and pizza cutter into whatever I could quickly create: thick new rolls and chunky little gnocchi-esque cubes or mushed cubes approximating orecchiette.
The noodles emerged thick and chewey from the pot. I didn’t think they tasted so hot when I took them out. They needed salt and were a bit bland. But at the table with additions of butter, parmesan cheese, some lovely grey French sea salt and some broccoli I’d pan-steamed with garlic, they were delish. Both Ahuva and Aba cried for “MORE!”. There were just enough left to pack in her lunch box for the next day.
I will try to score a pasta maker on www.freecycle.org next time I have something to offer there since it seems like the rolling out the dough was (for me) the hardest part. With slightly bigger kids, I imagine that could be a fun, play dough like task.