When I tell people I want to make pasta from scratch, most of the responses I get are, “Why?”  As in, “Why wouldn’t you just go to the local store to buy some Barilla?  I mean, it’s from Italy, right?”  While I’ve certainly contributed to Barilla’s bottom line over the years, I think there’s something magical about making food from scratch.  After reading Mark Bittman‘s “Food Matters“, I’ve really been looking at what we eat.  I never realized how much preservatives are in the foods we buy at the grocery stores.  We’ve been bouncing between Albertsons, Trader Joe, and Whole Foods like we get fuel credits driving around town.  So, even if I don’t ever make something twice, I most always want to give something a try once to know what goes in it.

Pasta was easy an choice.  My friend had given us a Kitchen Aid pasta machine extension for our wedding and it hadn’t seen the light of day for 2.5 years, so I thought there was no better time then to start now.  And watching Jamie Oliver, and most recently Michael Symon, make a simple pasta dough, it seemed easy enough.  I tried Mark Bittman’s pasta recipe by using a food processor, but I think next time [if there is a next time], I’m going to use the best tools on this planet: my hands.  With just 4 ingredients, it seemed like it was just too easy to mess up.  And it was.  Making fresh pasta was super simple, especially with the pasta machine extension.  The pasta came out truly al dente after it was cooked.  A firm bite and certainly different in taste than dried pasta.  Of course, there’s nothing more convenient than dried pasta, but knowing that what we were eating had no preservatives and tasted truly great was that much better.  I know I won’t be making fresh pasta every time we have spaghetti or lasagna, but the next thing I want to make are raviolis.

I find that even though the quicker, more convenient way of making pasta is to just buy it at the store, there really is nothing better tasting and more satisfying then making my own.  The satisfaction isn’t just about the taste, but it’s about creating something so familiar from ingredients that most families already have in their kitchens.  Flour, eggs, water, and salt.  To see how these four ingredients, when combined, turns into such fresh tasting pasta makes me want to throw out the rest of our dried pastas at home.  It’s this creating something out of basic ingredients that really satisfies my culinary soul.  It’s telling yourself that spaghetti with marina sauce is not overcooked noodles with ketchup.  But for so many people out there, that’s what it is.  And I think even if our lives are just out of control busy, we need to carve out time out of our day/week to make something fresh and healthy.  Let’s get off this reliance on foods loaded with preservatives and let’s get back to basics.  Let’s get back to living and eating right.