I’ve always had a very strong bond with my grandmother. Since my parents always worked when I was a child, it became my grandparents’ responsibility to take care of me and my siblings. I’ve spent countless hours at my grandparents’ house, even to this day. While my grandmother mainly speaks Italian (and I cannot), we still have fun together and keep each other company. One thing my grandmother is famous for (at least in our family) is her pasta. I think she has cooked pasta almost every day for dinner for the past few months. She usually uses store-bought pasta for dinner, which is quick, easy and tastes fine, but she sometimes makes pasta from scratch, which tastes so much better. It was for this reason that I got excited when my grandmother invited me to help her make pasta today. I would like to recount my experience to you guys as well as give you some instructions to follow so you too can make some pasta at home.
Before starting, you will need:
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup of water
- Around 2 cups of flour
- A pasta maker, pot, bowl, spoon, and measuring cup
Okay, so I will now explain what I did (with the help of my grandmother) to make some homemade linguini. First, I put 1/3 cup of water, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 2 cups of flour into a mixing bowl. I then mixed it all together so it became a sticky homogenous mixture (see photo). Once the ingredients were mixed, I then began to knead the dough in the bowl, which basically means I gave the dough lots of punches and squashed it a bunch. I also slowly added more flour during this process. Going forward, the dough shouldn’t be sticky. Instead, I added flour until the dough was smooth and firm. I am not exactly sure how much flour I added at this step, but I guess it was around ½ a cup. Once I was done kneading, I took the ball of dough and cut it in half. This recipe makes 2 large plates of pasta, but as I was the only one that was hungry, we only used one half of the dough I made for the rest of the recipe. Anyway, next we took the cut ball of dough and flattened it a bit with our hands, and then flattened it further using the pasta maker.
Our machine has a hand crank that turns the rollers and flattens the dough. My grandmother showed me how this step was done. First, she pressed one side of the flattened piece of dough onto the roller and then rotated the crank. What resulted was a longer and thinner piece. After the piece was flattened, she proceeded to fold the dough onto itself, and then repeated the processes of flattening it. Once I was familiar with the technique, I took over. My grandmother and I continuously flattened and folded the dough until it became as long and thin as seen in the picture. Once the dough was sufficiently rolled, my grandmother cut the dough into 3 different segments. We then put these segments through the linguini part of the pasta maker. This cut the dough into long strands of pasta. Finally, I put the strands of pasta into boiling water for 10-15mins. Once the linguini was cooked, I strained it and put some of my grandmother’s homemade tomato sauce, cheese and basil on top. And there we go, a great plate of pasta!!
My grandmother, brothers and I tasted it and we all really enjoyed it. It was so yummy! My brother proclaimed that the flavour and texture of my pasta were much more superior than store-bought ones. He could even taste the eggs we added and said that it greatly improved the flavour. I personally have store-bought pasta almost every day, and I agreed that my pasta tasted much better than usual. I am quite proud of myself. It was also pretty quick and easy to make.
However, I will say that cooking with my grandmother was a bit difficult. She is quite the perfectionist and never wanted me to make any mistakes. Especially at the beginning of the day, she wanted to control my actions and maybe even do most of it herself. It was a bit stressful honestly. Yet, by the end, my grandmother saw that I was capable enough and performed well, so she relaxed a bit. We ended up making a pretty good team. I am very glad that I had this opportunity to cook with my grandmother. It was nice to spend some quality time with her while making a dish so tied with the Italian tradition.