Guido Barilla decided one day on a radio show to pick a side in a so-called culture war, where a brand stands for “traditional family values and the primacy of women in the kitchen. His company makes good sauce and some good pasta. I have 5 open boxes in various varieties that I’ll miss. They go into the trash. The half a case in my basement will be donated to one of the local food kitchens. Mr. Barilla, we do have choices. Pasta is actually damned easy to make. Especially by those of us with a mixer and a pasta machine. It usually only comes out for dinner parties and when I want black (squid ink) pasta for lobster ravioli.
If you believe in “traditional” families, that’s just fine. If you want to tie your brand to a narrow view of family and exclude one of the main groups that rather than buy store brand pastas and sauces, look for yours, that’s fine too. Been to a supermarket lately? Now that I know your feelings about me, and my friends, I think we can try the rest of the aisle. For those who are up for a little culinary adventure, try this:
Find a supplier of semolina flour. Some higher end grocery and health food stores carry it. You can also order it online from lots of places. You’ll need a cup of it, and 2 cups of AP flour. Put in a teaspoon of salt. Put that in your mixing bowl with the dough hook attachment. Now add 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk. Get a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil and stream that in. Let the mixer do its thing. You’ll see th dough forming a ball and trying to wind itself up the hook. Let the mixer run on medium low for 10 minutes to knead the pasta. Take it out of the bowl. Form a disk. Wrap it in plastic and let it rest for at least an hour before you fiddle with it again. Cut the disk into quarters, roll it to about a quarter inch and feed it through your pasta maker a few times, or roll it out on a lightly floured surface and cut it into long strips about a quarter inch wide. If you can, put it over the pants bar of a wooden hanger and let it dry a bit. Get a big pasta pot and set salted water to boil. Fresh pasta takes a lot less time to cook, so watch it. It should be all dente in a couple minutes.
I’ll put a sauce recipe or two up in the next few days.
Here’s a little secret. Fresh pasta tastes better than boxed too.