Thinking outside of the box…of dried pasta

Linguinie with Meatballs

This past weekend we went out to eat and to celebrate my little brother’s birthday. We went to Scarlotto in the Theatre District and as I browsed the menu I found myself being pulled in one direction. I was hoping no one would ask, “so what are you going to order?” because I didn’t really want to say. Out of all the great sounding pastas and traditionally delicious servings of veal and chicken, was I really going to order the spaghetti and meatballs? Such a simple dish, something I have eaten a zillion times, but at that moment it was all I wanted. But would I be missing out on something different, something more interesting? Well luckily for me, it wasn’t my birthday too long ago either and we were planning on exchanging gifts before we ordered. As I unwrapped the paper covering a rather heavy box, my ordering dilemma had been solved…

I’ve never made homemade pasta. Despite raving about restaurants that make and serve their own I have never even thought to make it myself. Why? I’m not entirely sure but I figure the majority of it stemmed from not owning a pasta maker. Problem solved. (I should point out that certainly pasta can be made with out a pasta maker but after working with one and seeing how easy it is, I probably wouldn’t try it) Thanks to my Dad, I now had a new plan. I was going to save my spaghetti and meatballs for my first homemade pasta!

Last night I decided to go the traditional route. The tomato sauce, started with onions and garlic, and finished with fresh basil was exactly what I was looking for. Vibrant and just sweet enough to compliment the other components without overpowering. The meatballs were made from a mixture of ground beef, veal, and pork and had great flavor and texture. Over the years, I’ve made a lot of meatballs on the fly, never really taking a look at recipes or writing down my own but these were worth remembering. Lastly, the linguine (didn’t have a spaghetti size attachment) came out really well, especially for my first go around. Not only did it taste amazing, it was really fun to make. With a little help, I was able to crank out some seriously long and thin pasta sheets, even on my tiny counter top and the satisfaction of eating this dish was truly unique.  It is certainly easier to whip out a box of dried pasta and toss it in some store bought sauce but nothing tastes like homemade. This process is one I will surely be repeating in the future.

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