On Friendship & Fettuccine
Babes. I made homemade pasta for the first time this evening and I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed by how Italian I am.
I feel like a trash compactor is slapping all the Italian-American influences of my life into a perfect cube. I'm having all sorts of visions: Paulie with his pinky up, sipping a cappuccino, my grandfather shuffling to the wine cellar in plaid slippers, the 5 months I spent in Rome eating cheese on our patio overlooking the clothes lines, Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. in "Only You", zipping down the Amalfi Coast, dancing to "Release Me" in Rome when it was 103 degrees, and my grandmother on her wedding day, the lace train of her dress 8 feet long.
When an Italian girl makes pasta, it's a real come-to-Jesus moment. Believe me.
But let me back it up. I met S & Z at their apartment near Jay Street around 3:30 with a bottle of Pinot Noir and a hunk of Drunken Goat, ready for the next culinary adventure.
S & Z are two of my favorite people to cook with; they're free-spirited, voracious, and beyond competent. And when they think something is fcking delicious, it always is. (It should also be mentioned that they co-authored an incredible volume called "The Great Diaspora Cookbook" which is a combination of recipes from both sides of their family, with snippets, and photographs from their respective histories. It's brilliant and very real).
Back to reality - there we were with 6 eggs, flour, a rolling pin, the new Bon Iver album, and a beautiful red sauce simmering away on the stove.
We washed our hands, rolled up our sleeves and got to work - folding eggs into flour and pouring each other a little vino, kneading the dough into a mound before rolling it out, dusting it with flour, and stretching it through the little countertop Imperia - gasping as it came through the panels, perfectly thin and even and of-the-moment. Now from my POV - cooking is always a marvel. But cranking that dough was next level. There was something so satisfying about taking a tiny amount of ingredients, working them through, and seeing a product come to life - something instantly tangible and shareable.
We cooked and laughed and talked about tacos in Mexico City and threw the fettuccine in the pot, shrieking as it took shape and fussing over it like new mothers, wondering if we were overcooking the shit out of it. And, like the magician he is, Z whipped up two perfect loaves of bread in the background (an encore to the challah he made for Rosh Hashanah, and the boy isn't even Jewiiish).
10 minutes later, we were listening to the Bee Gees and drinking Pinot Noir and feasting on homemade fettuccine, red sauce with meatballs and freshly risen bread. Seriously delish.
I take limited credit for tonight's meal but will certainly brag about it to Nannu when I see him next. And I'm sure he'll smile and scratch his head and say "okay, that's good, but when are you finding a husband?" and I'll pinch his cheek, wondering if he has a few more flannels I can steal.
A toast to fall, to friendship, to fettuccine. We're taking the best of the past into the present this year.
*Half of these photos were taken by SC - love you.