I often quip that making pasta takes nothing more than “a lot of love and a little wet flour.” The ingredients themselves couldn’t be simpler, but the dedication and perspiration it takes to bring them from their raw form to their delicious and satisfying end makes the process a true labor of love.
I think that sentiment applies broadly to cooking at home in general. In our busy lives, cooking is often a tempting chore to skip, with such a dizzying variety of fast food, take-out, and other pre-packaged options that are cheap and readily available. But those of us drawn to cooking know that we can nourish ourselves and our loved ones so, so much better with just a few good ingredients and a little bit of effort.
Cooking—and pasta making in particular—serves as a much-needed creative outlet for me. I’ve got a pretty left-brained day job, working on a plethora of issues related to transportation and parking, and thinking about how we might move people around more efficiently and more safely. It’s great work if you can get it, but—for me, at least—it is incredibly satisfying to balance the headiness of my day job with a crafty sort of pursuit where I get to work purely with my hands. So I make pasta. Or rather, I make pasta. The emphasis is on the process—learning, practicing, struggling, and ultimately, creating.
With the recipe-driven nature of most cookbooks, this is a perspective that is often forgotten. I’ve often struggled to learn from even the best cookbooks for precisely this reason: They cover each pasta shape only once, usually presenting only one technique for making it and only one idea for a sauce to pair it with, before moving onto the next shape. But the practice evolves differently: You find a shape that you enjoy making and practice it again and again, slowly adding to your repertoire, constantly playing with pairings, and strive to keep making the shapes more quickly, more beautifully, and more fluently. So my goal with L&WF is to write about the process as we experience it, with an emphasis on technique rather than recipes.
I hope you will find herein thoughtful, interesting, and practical content on pasta-making, wine pairing, ingredients, approaches, techniques, and hacks that inspire your own practice.