Making Pasta With Salty Seattle
I’ve been playing with pasta and exploring everything you can do with it for a few months in earnest now. The second I saw Linda Miller Nicholson’s Instagram account, I knew that there was more to do and learn. She specializes in colorful pasta that is dyed only with vegetables and fruits. And, unlike my more muted pasta where I only explored spinach and beets, Linda has the entire gamut of colors completely dialed in. From gorgeous purples to exquisite oranges to zesty greens, she has experimented and perfected her craft so much that her creations look too whimsical to eat. But trust me, you should eat them!
I was delighted when she agreed to host Amanda, Christina and I at her gorgeous home. The house is an architectural marvel of sleek, modern living. There is not one single detail left to chance; from the solid wood table, to a beautiful photography set up in the corner with natural light, to the reclaimed, refinished, refrigerated cooler for all of the pasta making ingredients to magical drawers with no handles, it is a thing of beauty. When I texted a friend photos of the house from the pasta class, they asked where I was and I quipped that I had flown to Italy for a pastamaking class … and, they believed me because the house really is such an experience.
The house is matched by the warm, bubbly, friendly, generous attitude of its owner and our gracious hostess for the day. Linda immediately took us in and shared all of her secrets to dying pasta with vegetable and fruits. Wow; did she shortcut so much testing and experimenting for us!
She also introduced us to the concept of making pasta dough using a food processor. I had never tried this (why oh why have I never tried this?) and having now seen the glory of food processor pasta (no kneading, no waiting for the gluten strands to form), I’m never going back. The dough the food processor makes is simply superior. It’s more soft and supple and more workable than dough that is kneaded by hand. It’s always good to improve on tradition, and this is one improvement that gets us more pasta, more quickly.
The highlight of the day was learning how to make giant egg ravioli decorated with a green lattice. The feeling of finishing four of these elaborate, delicate morsels of joy was nothing short of euphoric. I had plopped the egg yolk on top of its nest of ricotta cheese, topped it with a generous pat of butter, and attached the top part of the ravioli to the bottom part without breaking the egg yolk. Wheeeeee; that was a delicate operation. The ravioli are so big that they are dinner sized themselves. I served them for Chris’s birthday dinner along with a side salad and everyone proclaimed them delicious. My brother was skeptical it would be enough food, but he left satisfied with this rich and beautiful treat. I am definitely going to make this again at home when I need a show stopper dinner.