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Throw Love Catch Pasta
January 18, 2019 | Frank Bonanno
Hand made pasta is art.
I made the pasta course at my own wedding. I rolled, stuffed, and shaped little pillows every night after cooking the Mel’s line–like wedding sidework–froze them on sheet trays, and transferred 100 or so gallon ziploc up to the mountains in an IGLOO for another chef to execute. White bean agnolotti with brown butter, pine nuts and sage, enough for 200 people, and I stand by the beauty and simplicity of that course some 20 years after the fact.
I wish every meal could have a bit of pasta in it. When I opened Mizuna, I knew I wanted something like what Thomas Keller’s team was cranking at the French Laundry. Elegant but humble, you know? Like, it’s just flour, water and salt, served in a straightforward white bowl (elegant but humble)–macaroni and cheese, but with mascarpone and lobster. At Mizuna, elbows so perfectly shaped as to catch the butter and the cream in the hollow. Every bite a revelation. A claw. Your pupils widen at the discovery in the first forkful, then you sort of lean in and draw the bowl closer to your body. It’s magical.
And the thing about fresh rolled pasta–I’m going to bastardize a Julia Child quote here– is that you’d can just tell someone’s fingers have been all over it, rolling, stretching, cutting, stuffing, shaping, sautéing . . . wiping the plate rim and setting it before you. . . So when Luca opened, it was all about the pasta, and it has been ever since. Hours upon hours of training and penance paid to the pasta gods, every day rolling, stretching, shaping, filling.
Even at the Milk Market, with hundreds of people filtering in on a daily basis, we’re hand cranking pasta in the Mano kitchen, Blake slowly honing his method by feel, executing perfect ribbons of lasagna, tagliarini, spaghetti–pillows of agnolotti and and rigatoni tubes. Our number one seller at Mano? Hand stuffed robiola agnolotti.
I feel like I’m droooling.
I’ll leave one of my recipes from Food & Wine here, and a video here, (and a pretty amazing special we’re offering for the long weekend here), but like so many cooking techniques, this doesn’t come easily to everyone. If you’re making pasta from scratch, though, I want to know about it. Shoot me an email, let me know how it turned out. Send pictures. Celebrate.