Pasta! Everyone loves pasta. There are as many different types of pasta as there are sauces to put on it. But did you ever eat just plain pasta? Probably not, because pasta’s just a vehicle for sauce. Or so I thought.
I had some friends over for lunch yesterday and thought I’d make some pasta with a lobster sauce since Bill has a source of fresh lobster at a reasonable price. My 12 year old granddaughter, Brianna, was over the day before the lunch and I was preparing to make the fettuccine when she said, “Oh, wow, I want to make it.”
So we mixed some flour with a little salt and made a “flour bowl” in the middle of my marble slab, its depression, just the right size for a couple of eggs, a little cold water, and some olive oil. She loved that you have to make sure the walls of the dam surrounding the liquid must be kept intact or the whole eggy mess will flow out the breach and onto the floor. When she asked why we didn’t make it in a bowl I couldn’t think of anything other than that’s the way it’s done in Italy. She thought that was “way cool.”
I love watching her stir around the liquid, incorporating some of the flour with each rotation of the fork, shoring up the flour rim whenever it seemed fragile. When the pasta was ready to knead, she attacked it with a flourish, kneading hard against the marble until the ball was smooth and elastic.
I’ve made pasta many ways, from rolling and cutting by hand to a hand-cranked machine but now I have an attachment on my Kitchen Aid mixer that makes it easy and fast. Brianna commented that it was like playing with clay as she rolled it flat and then put it through the cutter to make the fettuccine.
The morning of the luncheon, I simmered the shells and bodies of a few lobsters with some lovage, onion, carrots, and oregano, boiled it down, strained the broth and put it aside. Then I sauteéd onions in a half stick of butter in a medium saucepan until soft, added two cups of the broth, a half cup of heavy cream, a little tomato sauce,and a half cup of cream sherry, simmered it until it coated the back of a spoon. Just before serving, when the pasta was in the boiling water, I added chunks of lobster and some steamed fiddleheads to the sauce.
I tasted some of the sauce. It was delicious. But when I ate it with the fettuccine my granddaughter made, its flavor improved. How is that a mixture of flour and water and a few eggs can enhance an already fabulous dish?