Shortly after the meal I described a few days ago when I celebrated my 25th birthday I asked for and was given by my sisters a pasta machine. It is one of those stainless steel devices through which the pasta dough is passed over and over again through an ever diminishing gap between two rollers until the right thickness is reached. I have used it three times.
The first time was soon after I got it and I made some mushroom ravioli with a mushroom sauce from a Raymond Blanc book called Cooking with Friends. This was before children and I made it for the two of us. Although it was very good it involved a lot of work.
The next time was with small children. I thought it was something they could participate in, turning the handle and helping to feed through the dough and watching it turn into tagliatelle. The children were not very interested in helping and then complained that this wasn’t real pasta when a meal was produced for them.
This evening I got the machine out again. I was home over the afternoon to help watch over revision during half term. Some of that was done but I kept getting distracted by a hole in the wall just opposite the kitchen were a family of Great Tits are nesting. The bastard cat has spotted them there and if he could balance on top of the wall he could probably just about reach down with his right paw to take a swipe at the young as they make their way out in a day or so’s time. We will have to keep an eye on him.
Late in the afternoon I asked the kids what they wanted for tea. I had in mind a chilli made with lamb and black beans. That was dismissed out of hand and elder daughter declared that she wanted ravioli. She had in mind one of those plastic packets from the supermarket. I ignored her and went back to the new cook we have in house called Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros.
As I leaved through it I cam across a recipe for ravioli stuffed with ricotta and asparagus. I thought on the pasta machine down in the basement covered in dust and thought ‘Sod it! I’ll show her ravioli.
It was not too difficult to make. The only thing that took time was stuffing the small packets of pasta. Picking up half a teaspoon of stuffing, wetting down the edges of the pasta, folding it over and pinching it down. It was the sort of job that you would have thought eager young fingers would want a go at – but those fingers were too engrossed with Hollyoaks.
That didn’t stop it all getting eaten.