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Homemade Pappardelle Pasta and The Mark and the Void

Homemade Pappardelle Pasta and The Mark and the Void

Combining an antique table top and a family heirloom? Smart choice, Dad. Smart. Choice.

Combining an antique table top and a family heirloom? Smart choice, Dad. Smart. Choice.

The world is full of every day acts of genius that all stem from one smart choice. My father making my great-great-grandmother's sewing machine into a table for my Christmas present. Paul Murray writing The Mark and the Voidwhich happens to be today's book. Colin playing the word qi on a triple letter score space in Scrabble. Me winning anyway. Kidding. Kind of... 

Then there are the not so smart choices. Like, for example, committing to run 504.5 miles as a part of the Run the Year 2018 challenge. Not quite sure how I got myself into that? Divide this year (2018) by four (me + my two cousins + one of those cousin's boyfriend) and you get 504.5 miles that I have left to run. Feeling sweaty even though you're not moving? Me too! Feeling like that's a whole lot of miles for one person who works a full time job and currently lives in a snow covered wonderland? Me too! Feeling like you need to cook something comforting to make yourself forget about this choice? ME TOO.

So, I made a good choice: this parsley and lemon pappardelle. And trust me, making this is a really, really smart choice for your Tuesday. Check out the recipe, and get cooking. I would be too, but I have to go run to put a dent in that 500 miles.

Homemade Pappardelle Pasta

Homemade Pappardelle Pasta

You’ll never go back once you’ve made pasta from scratch.

Homemade Pappardelle Pasta

Making your own pasta is crazy easy. If you have eggs, flour, and a little bit of elbow grease (or a KitchenAid), you're most of the way there already. I use fresh parsley and sage, but any fresh herbs you have will do.

By , January 16, 2018

Makes: 4 servings

Homemade Pappardelle Pasta

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 2 eggs plus 3 egg yolks (save the whites for macarons!)
  • zest, 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup of fresh herbs, finely chopped, plus extra, left whole, for garnish
  • 2 TBSP of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced finely

Instructions:
  1. Add the flour and salt to a large mixing bowl. Whisk to mix, then make a nest or crater or whatever you'd like to call it in the middle, and add the eggs and yolks to the crater.
  2. Using a fork, whisk the eggs together gently so as not to incorporate flour. Add the lemon zest and finely chopped herbs.
  3. Whisk all those additives into the egg, then slowly begin shaving flour off of the sides of the crater to incorporate into the egg. Eventually, you'll abandon the fork and get down and dirty to mix with your hands. I usually also end up adding a bit of water here and there to make sure that I'm getting all off the crumbs at the bottom of the bowl.
  4. When you have a solid mass of pasta dough that looks gorgeous and smells even better, cover it with a tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes. The internet says this is important because it lets the gluten rest. I say it's important because it gives me a breather to do something besides pasta.
  5. Set a large pot of water (about seven cups) to boil. Salt generously.
  6. Remove the tea towel from the bowl and dust your dough with flour. Using a bench scraper (check out the amazing Chopping Block to get a handmade one!) or a knife, divide your dough into four roughly equal parts. Shape those into as much of a rectangle shape as you can.
  7. Using a pasta roller attachment or a rolling pin, roll out the pasta until you can see your fingers through the dough when you hold it up to the light. This took a lot of dusting with extra flour for me to accomplish — don't be afraid of that! It all boils off and your pasta will be just as lovely.
  8. When you have four very long, very thin sheets of pasta, get out a pair of scissors and emotionally prepare yourself.
  9. Fold the sheets in half (hamburger fold, not hotdog fold), then cut one-inch wide strips perpendicularly from the crease. Lastly, cut the crease.
  10. By now, your water is boiling. Add the pasta, and boil for about three minutes, then drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.Yes, it's done that quickly! Isn't homemade pasta the best?
  11. In the meantime, put a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil.When the oil is shimmering, add the the garlic and the remaining herbs to the pan. Saute until the garlic is golden and the herbs are looking wilty
  12. Add the pasta to the pan. Saute for a minute, then add the pasta water. Slightly lower the heat and stir occasionally for five minutes.
  13. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, a light dusting of Parmesan, or just a glass of wine. Revel in your skills.

The Mark and the Void

Plot: A French banker named Claude feels hopeless. So does an author named Paul Murray, who is not to be confused with Paul Murray, the author of this book. A financial crisis and an unlikely friendship blossom in a sharp parody that will leave you scratching your head.

Thoughts: After I finished Skippy Dies, I thought I had a handle on Murray. I was wrong. This book takes Murray's quiet yet barbed criticism of ~the system~ to a whole new level. 

Murray is smart — you understand that from the beginning of both of his books. He knows exactly how to manipulate you so you see the world in a different light, and that's my favorite part of reading him. Have you ever talked to someone so smart you just feel like they're kind of bemused by talking to a regular human? That's how I feel while reading his books, and I love that feeling. It challenges you in a whole new way, which makes me feel like I need to work harder to get the story. 

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I ever got there with this one. And the hard part of writing this review is knowing that the smart parts that made the book so clever were the very things with which I took issue. I felt like Claude and Paul's banter was lacking, and that the other characters had such potential to be bigger and more substantial but never got there. I yearned for some more exciting plot points, and I wanted the banks to fail. I wasn't surprised by the twist in the book, but I wished it had come earlier and been a little more cinematic. 

The book was funny in parts, absurd in others, and very accidentally intellectual. In short, it made me understand Murray and appreciate Skippy even more for the work of genius that it is, and made me wish I was better able to get it.

Verdict: If you have to read a Paul Murray book, read Skippy Dies. It's a much more moving, impactful story that's worth the time it takes you to read it.

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