Life’s too short for home made pasta

Food like this is just too fussy

Since I started subscribing to Apple News (by default as part of the ONE sub), I’ve been perusing the odd lifestyle or cookery magazine, looking at some recipes. I’m completely out of step with the times, as usual, because I find the busy-ness and fussyness of a lot of contemporary recipes really offputting. Plates with bits and pieces scattered all over, a list of ingredients as long as your arm… been there, done that. My attitude to such food is best exemplified by my soup making. I make a good soup, but I think three ingredients (not including liquids) is perfectly sufficient. Anything more is too fussy.

My darkest culinary secret is that I have never understood the appeal of fresh pasta, and I have (as a consequence) never made it. Of course, this might mean I’ve never properly tried it, given that what passes for “fresh pasta” in supermarkets might not be all that fresh. But I have tried the supermarket stuff, and not only is it not better than the dried variety, it’s not as good as the dried variety. Dried pasta keeps for ages, cooks in a few minutes, and tends not to disintegrate.

I think I probably have had home made fresh pasta, at my sister’s. No further comment, other than to say that I’d have been just as happy with dried. For me, pasta falls into the same category as puff pastry and croissants: yes, you could make it yourself, but why bother when you can get perfectly decent stuff at the supermarket.

I have, in the past, made my own crumpets, and while they were a novelty, they were not better than a pack of Warburton’s. I tend to think more or less the same about bread. Not quite the same, because I do occasionally make bread, and I quite enjoy the process, but I’m not kidding myself: a nice crusty bloomer from the supermarket seems fine to me, and there’s nothing to beat a fresh baguette from the boulangerie in France.

Talking of which, I’ve had a go at making my own baguette this week (for reasons). I found a three-day recipe on YouTube, and I’ve followed it fairly closely. I’ve even, ahem, bought myself a linen cloth for the bit where you shape the dough. I haven’t got this far yet, but I already know I’ll fail at shaping the loaves properly. The pros make it look so easy, but my hands lack the dexterity to shape loaves and rolls. I’ve always been a bit rubbish at it. Dough seems to stick to my hands in a way that it doesn’t for these experts. It never does what I want it to do. And when it comes to something as simple as the razor blade slash, I’m hopeless. There will be the loaf, there will I be with a brand new blade. And in comes the slash: nope.

And this is the thought behind my refusal to tackle home made pasta. Whatever the shape, I’ll just make a mess of it. And then when it cooks I’ll just think I might as well have stuck to the dried stuff.

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