Semolina pasta with tomato sauce
I always make pasta by hand when I feel like I need to atone for something, in this case, complete laziness in the kitchen. The weather cooled off considerably on Friday and Saturday. In fact, yesterday was the most beautiful day of the year in New York. It was sunny, cool, and breezy. I even convinced Nathan to go running with me at 8:30 a.m. around Washington Square Park.
So there was no excuse for sitting around, even though all I want on these summer days is corn and tomatoes. I remembered that the bag of semolina I bought for dusting pasta had a recipe on it for semolina pasta, and that sounded like just the right amount of labor. The ingredients are as follows: 1.5 cups semolina, .5 teaspoon salt, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons water, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix the semolina and salt, and then add the other ingredients and knead for ten minutes. I had to increase the semolina content, because it was the stickiest dough I’d ever encountered, akin to cement. Eventually, it was a manageable, smooth, elastic ball.
I couldn’t be bothered to set up the pasta crank, since it doesn’t fit on my kitchen counter and I have to clear off the dinner table to use it, so I rolled and cut the pasta by hand, which was surprisingly fast and fun. I rolled it as thin as I could, until it was translucent, and then I used my plastic scraper to cut long, uneven strands. The finished texture was appealingly rough, chewy, and rustic.
For sauce, I used about eight overripe tomatoes from the Greenmarket (if you visit Union Square between 5:45 and 6, almost every stand has dollar bags of tomatoes, melons, peaches, and other perfectly good produce). I chopped them, simmered them for twenty minutes with salt and garlic, passed them through the food mill, and then mixed in Mom’s leftover pesto from last weekend.