Cooking can be hard. Professionally, I mean. The hours are long. And your mind has no choice but to run a mile per minute with the prep list, orders, pick ups and why your dishwasher hasn’t brought you clean pans yet. When you go a few months focused as all hell, just going through the motions, you start to forget why you love food. It’s a mystery, but somehow the venison sirloin and braised pork belly become mundane. What got me out of my hazy working monotony tonight was fresh eggs and flour. Simple staples such as these, which knead into delicate hand-rolled pasta, somehow hold divine fulfillment capable of reviving passion. I’m not sure if the mystery lies in the way the starches bleed into the boiling water and bind the parmesan to the linguini, or if it’s the earthy flavor of the mushrooms complementing the acidity of the bright lemon, but either way, this bowl of pasta brought my dream to life once again. The dream that one day I will by rolling gnocchi with an Italian Nona in Tuscany who has been anonymously been feeding her children for decades. Cliche? Yes. Unrealistic? After breathing life into this pasta tonight, no. With that, here is the crazily simple recipe that will transport you to a Sicilian pasta cucina before you can say bellisimo.
400 g white flour
2 whole eggs
1 tsp salt
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and crack in eggs. Whisk the eggs with a fork and slowly incorporate the flour. When a shaggy dough has formed, continue to knead dough using your fingers. Work the flour into the dough until it comes together. On a floured surface, knead dough until uniform and soft, about 10 minutes. Mold into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and let chill in fridge for at least 15 minutes.
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 lemon, juice and zest
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesiano reggiano
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
Use a pasta roller to cut pasta into linguini. While pasta is drying, heat olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add garlic and heat for 1 minute. Add sliced mushrooms with a pinch of salt and fresh black pepper and saute until slightly browned. Boil fresh pasta in a pot of salted rolling boiling water, about 3 minutes. Deglaze mushroom pan with lemon juice, and add pasta with about 1/4 cup of starchy water. Add fresh cracked pepper, lemon zest, and parmesan. Toss and reduce until pasta is coated with the sauce.
Images via instagram.