Monday, November 17, 2014

She walked on to my sidewalk like she was walking onto a yacht

Graziella didn’t walk so much as she glided. I had never seen anyone walk quite like that before. It was elegant and a bit affected, all at the same time, but intriguing. It was as if she knew someone was watching her. And, of course, we were.

Giacomo ‘Jack’ Radioli leaned forward in his armchair to glance outside the living room window. “She looks good,” he commented. “She a always looksa best six weeks after the pull.” He said, nodding. Gina and Laura nodded in agreement.

“Yeah,” Laura said, “the first few weeks after an appointment” she said, making imaginary quotation marks in the air, “Mamma’s so bloated and swollen”

“And TIGHT!” Gina added. “She looks like a surprised water balloon.”

They all nodded slowly in agreement.

Looking over at Jack and then glancing out of the window to the woman approaching my house, it was hard to believe Graziella and Jack were the same age. Jack didn’t look bad, but he looked like a 70 year old man and Graziella looked like a woman who was desperately trying not to look 70 years old.

“Don’t make her ring the doorbell. She hates that for some reason.” Gina said.

But I understood this. We had chatted on the phone the week before and she had given me a fairly detailed time itinerary of her trip. A woman like Graziella expected that you would know she was coming, and if you knew when she was coming, why on earth would you make her wait at the door?”

I opened the door to greet her. “Ciao!”

“Oh Ciao BELLO! Devi essere Terry!”

“Sì, certo.” I replied and was greeted not with the expected air kisses to either side of my face, but two full-contact cheek kisses. I was surprised by the open affection. I had expected her to be a bit more guarded and was pleasantly surprised she was not.

She held my hand as she turned to greet her daughters and ex-husband. She released my hand and extended her arms to commence the familial group hug.

They all started speaking but I couldn’t understand a word they were saying. Gina must have seen the confusion on my face and said, “It’s Sicilian.” Italian I understood, dialect, not so much.

After the love fest, we all glanced at each other and burst out laughing. Our faces were covered in red lipstick, but oddly, Graziella’s lipstick was not smudged in the least. That was an art.

After I had passed around the tissue so we could remove the residual cosmetics from our faces, Graziella took Jack's arm and we all walked out to the patio to have a beverage and Gina said to her Mother, “Terry has a surprise for you!”

The women made themselves comfortable while Jack opened some Prosecco and I brought out the Lemon Tarragon Sorbetto I had made for Graziella upon Gina’s recommendation.

“È magnifico bello” she beamed, “But a what is that?!” She said pointing her manicured finger to the Espresso Shortbread Caramel Almond Tart I had made that was on the patio table. “I woulda like a piece of that!”

“I thought you didn’t eat dessert like that.”

“My daughters told a you that didn'ta they?. Well, I don’ta like bad dessert, but after this sorbetto, I would trust you with my life! And you know.” Graziella whispered in my ear, “my daughters don’t know everything about a me. We will talk.”

And I could hardly wait!!


Chocolate, Almond and Caramel Tart in Espresso Shortbread Crust

For the Crust:
½ cup powdered sugar
1 ¼ cups flour
¼ cup rice flour
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 ½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the Filling:
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
½ cup Mrs. Richardson's caramel

For the Mousse:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan with
parchment spray with a baking spray such as Pam.
2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse both flours, espresso powder, and powdered sugar until combined.
3. Add butter and pulse until the mixture forms a dough.
4. Empty contents of food processor bowl into a mixing bowl and slightly knead the
dough to make sure all ingredients are fully combined.
5. With floured fingertips, press dough into prepared tart pan and freeze for 20 minutes.
6. Bake crust until golden, about 20-25 minutes.
While crust is baking, prepare mousse:

1. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler. When chocolate is almost melted, remove from heat and whisk until smooth.
2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine eggs, yolks, and sugar and whisk. Place mixer bowl over the double boiler and whisk until the mixture is warm to the touch.
3. Place egg-sugar mixer on the stand mixer and whip at medium-high speed until triple in volume. Fold in melted chocolate.

To assemble:
1. Remove tart shell from oven. Drizzle the caramel sauce evenly over the baked tart shell. Sprinkle with almonds.
2. Spoon mousse mixture evenly over the caramel and almonds, making sure to
spread the mousse mixture to the edge of the crust.
3. Return to oven for 10-12 minutes until mousse has a matte finish and looks dry.
4. Remove from oven and cool on rack for 1 hour

5. To serve, cut with hot, dry knife (place under hot tap water and the dry). Clean knife after each slice.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What does one serve a Diva?


Gina had described her Mother to me in detail over the years, but to be honest, it always sounded like she may have been exaggerating a bit. Seeing how well I knew her Father and sister Laura, I couldn't imagine how these people could have, at one point in time, all fit together as a family. That was the problem: they didn't.

People always make jokes when they see two very ill-suited people who happen to have children. You may see a couple walking down the street that go together like Rosanne Barr and Italian opera, yet they have four kids! “Well,” you’ll hear someone say, “you know they at least had sex four times!” In the case of Gina and Laura’s parents, it was twice.

It wasn't that Gina’s parents didn't like each other. In fact, they were best friends, but they simply had no interest in each other physically. For some reason, Gina and Laura’s parents told their daughters they were not intimate on a fairly regular basis. They felt the need to make this very clear. Gina told me that when she was little, she would ask her parents “Do you two ever kiss?” to which they would respond with variations in the key of ‘No’.

As an adult, Gina would learn that ‘it’ happened twice. Being good Italians, Giacomo Radioli and Graziella Travoli did what they were supposed to do on their wedding night. They did it for the same reason one compliments a homely aunt when she wears a new dress, praises a child for a hideous drawing of an unrecognizable object or when one takes a second helping a friend’s culinary disaster: because it was easier than telling the truth. The Radioli and the Travoli families had so much emotional and, moreover, financial investment in the union of their children that neither Giacomo or Graziella had the heart to tell their respective families that they would both rather date outside of their species than marry each other. Nine months later, or as Graziella would often remind her daughter, nine and a half months after their wedding night, their first daughter Gina was born. ‘It’ occurred again on Giacomo and Graziella’s one-year anniversary. This produced Laura. Two children. Mission accomplished. Done!

So as we were waiting for the arrival of the famed Graziella, I began to think of how I would serve the one dish Gina told me was sure to impress her Mother: Lemon Sorbetto. It wasn’t really that I wanted to impress her. To be honest, I really didn’t care. I may never see the woman again. But, if I made something she loved (and had ice cold Champagne stocked) Gina said I had a pretty good chance of hearing stories of some of her Mother’s adventures.

Gina always said, “Hospitality is the key to unlocking my Mother’s jaw!”

Well, here’s hopin’!!


Lemon Tarragon Sorbetto
Makes 1 quart
Special equipment: Ice cream maker, micro plane zester
6 lemons, well washed and dried and brought to room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups water
Lemon zest from 4 lemons
3 tablespoon chopped tarragon leaves
Pinch salt

2 tablespoons julienned tarragon leaves
Fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced

1. Using a micro plane, zest the lemons. Cut the zested lemons in half then juice them. Strain the juice of any seeds. Set aside
2. Bring the sugar and water to a boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cover the saucepan with the lid to sweat down any sugar crystals. Remove pan from heat and stir in the zest. Allow to stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
3. Pour the syrup into a heat-proof glass bowl and stir in the lemon juice, chopped tarragon leaves and the salt. Cool to room temperature, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
4. Pass the sorbet base through a strainer and freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions
5. Serve sprinkled with julienned tarragon and fresh sliced strawberries.

Monday, November 3, 2014

And now arriving....


The pearl white limousine glistened as it pulled up in front of my house. When I lived in L.A., I used to see limousines all the time and never thought anything about it, but now, back at home, the idea of a limousine seemed pretentious. In the Midwest, we really don’t have a great deal of gown-wearing starlets attending gala events or the paparazzi to document the comings and goings of the locals, so limousines tend to signify weddings, funerals and transportation for group drinking events. Now, whenever I see one, I expect to see a gaggle of bridesmaids tumbling out of the limo into a drunken heap onto a downtown side walk followed by the inebriated bride-to-be adjusting her David’s Bridal polyester veil screaming, “Paaaaaarrrrrrty!!!!” Classy.

We all watched from the living room window as the car slowed to a halt. A gentleman with long silver hair tied back into a ponytail wearing a dark suit, sporting Roy Orbison-style sunglasses, got out from the driver’s seat and walked around to the rear passenger side door on the other side of the limo.

Watching the driver reminded me of when I had very long hair. At one time it was nearly to my waist. It actually looked good, but I was starting to see some gray coming in so I decided that, since the 80’s had been over for some time, it was the right moment to shear my locks. Gina used to love my long hair and had suggested I grow it out again. I had to remind her that long gray hair only worked if you were a wizard and you rode a horse to work.

Seeing the driver must have jarred Gina’s memory and she immediately said, “I told you to grow your hair again long before my Mother hired Xavier. I now see the err in my folic judgment.”


“Yeah, Xavier. He’s been my Mother’s driver for years! And I think I have heard him speak maybe 5 times in the last decade. He almost always just sits in the car and waits for her. God knows what he’s doing in there, but it’s probably best we don’t”

“Maybe he’s combing his hair.”

“And giving himself a French manicure,” Gina added wryly .

“So your Mother and Xavier aren’t……”

Hell no! I’m almost positive the last physical contact that man had with a vagina was birth.”

“Safe date?” I asked.

“Alarmingly so.”

Xavier opened the rear passenger door of the limo and out stretched a bronzed, sandal clad foot with hot pink toe nails. As Xavier extended his hand, a hot pink set of nails lay themselves on his palm as he assisted Gina and Laura’s Mom out of the car.

And there she stood. Her long, white-blonde hair cascaded over the shoulders of the cream colored pantsuit jacket. The pant's hems allowed for just a peak at the rhinestone bedazzled stilettos that allowed Graziella tower, even more so, over these suburban surroundings. 

“She looks like a photo negative of Cher!” I said.

“We affectionately refer to her as ‘Donatella’” Gina said without any affection in her voice whatsoever.

“I feel like I should have laid out a red carpet.”

“She would have liked that.”

To be continued………

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Meet the Parents

Nothing could have prepared me for it. I mean, I was given fair warning, but it was an event that no amount of planning would have been adequate to brace me for it: The experience of meeting Gina Radioli’s Mother!

I have known Gina Radioli for years. I even know her Father Jack (Giacomo) and her sister Laura (pronounced Lao-ra… and make sure you get that right) as well as I know my own family. But I had only heard about Graziella Radioli, or should I say Graziella Travoli Radioli Cosetta Bortoli Ostellino Mereghetti Schwartz. Gina’s Mother had married well. Six times. She had begun her serial marriage sequence in Sicily when she became betrothed to Gina’s Dad and then when that ended, she simply married her way up the boot until she hit Milan.

Gina’s parents met near the outskirts of Palermo when they were kids. And when I say kids, I mean when they were 2 years old. They had always known each other. Gina’s Dad used to say he couldn’t remember not knowing Graziella. Gina’s Dad’s family had made a very comfortable living in olives, pistachios and sheep and her Mother’s family owned the adjacent lemon grove. It only seemed natural to both families to encourage Giacomo and Graziella to marry. But encourage is really not the correct word. I’m trying to think of a better word.....forced......that’s it, forced. Gina’s parents had no choice whatsoever with regard to whom they would marry. It's just the way it was in those days. And it made perfect sense to everyone in the village, except for the couple that would eventually become Gina and Laura’s parents.

Jack used to joke, with his thick Sicilian accent, “Ita wasn’t like a we were on an ark. We had a car you know.” But both Gina’s parents knew the reason their families wanted them to stick around. Both families had a very nice life in the country. The government had left them alone for decades and they didn’t want things to change. The trucks would come in, pick up the crops and the wool, pay for the goods and be gone. Life was simple.

But when someone from town got the idea in their heads of finding an adventurous new way of life, things didn't always work out as hoped. All too often, a kid from the region would go off to the big city to make his fortune and come back either wearing far too much jewelry and cologne, return a pale, broken version of their former selves or arrive home in a pine box. Glamour was hard. Olives were easy.

So Giacomo Radioli and Graziella Travoli were pronounced man and wife.

Well, sort of.......

(To be continued........)

While we were waiting for Graziella's limousine (yes, limousine) to arrive, I made Jack Radioli's favorite lunch: Steamed Mussels with a midwestern twist. BACON! I am not Italian, but everytime he would eat them, he'd look at me and say, "Ita just like a home!" Then he would gather the fingers from his right hand to his lips and fan them out with a kiss. "Bellissimo!"


 Steamed Mussels with Smoked Bacon

¼ pound Smoked Bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large jalapeño, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ pound plum tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 cup drinking quality dry white wine
4 pounds medium mussels, scrubbed and debearded
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
Parmigiano-Reggiano Croustades to serve

1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add the shallots and jalapeño, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 4 minutes.
4. Increase the heat to high and add the mussels. Cover and cook, shaking the pan a few times, until the mussels open, about 5 minutes.
5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the mussels to 4 large, shallow serving bowls. Remove the casserole from the heat and stir in the lime juice, butter and chopped Italian parsley.

Ladle the sauce over the mussels and serve at once with the croustades.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

My Mom used to cook.........

.....back in the 80’s, when Reagan was President and Obama simply sounded like an exotic fish one might order in a Polynesian restaurant. (Oh, it comes with rice and a mango salsa! I’ll have the Obama!) But as time passed, she slowly gave up on it. For years she attempted to try creating a new dish, but this goal was usually achieved by adding mustard powder to something that she already made well.

I would walk into the kitchen and ask, “What’s for dinner?”

“I’m trying something different tonight.”

And whenever she would say this, my eyes would scan the countertop looking for that little yellow metal box. If I didn’t see it, I knew I was safe. But when I did, I would resign myself to knowing I was to consume a meal in which mustard had no natural place. It would turn up in meatballs, Swiss steak and even chicken wings. I loved my mother’s meatballs, Swiss steak (especially her Swiss steak) and chicken wings, so the addition of mustard powder often led to dinnertime disappointment. My aversion to mustard became so acute that when I started to cook as an adult, if I ran across a recipe that contained even a trace of mustard powder, I would either not bother with the recipe at all or I would omit the ingredient altogether. I have since learned to embrace mustard powder and have come to appreciate its culinary value.

You see, there are two types of moms: there are cookers and there are cleaners. My Mom was a cleaner. Well, actually there is a third kind of mom who cooks and cleans, but they’re usually so angry because they are cooking and cleaning all the time that eating a delicious meal in their spotless house is ruined by the sound of their grinding molars.

Since my Mom was a cleaner, when I was little I often longed to be invited to someone else’s house for dinner. I think it came from playing outside after school and being able to smell dinners being cooked in other houses. This was when children still played outside on a regular basis and not only because their computers had frozen and World of Warcraft was temporarily unavailable. The one house I used to love to hang around back then was the house of my buddy Peter Moretti.

Peter Moretti had a Mom who cooked and Mrs. Moretti cooked constantly. Mrs. Moretti also did not clean, at least not in the way I was accustomed to. Eating at the Moretti’s was an odd catch 22: the food was delicious but the house looked like a war zone. I later learned that cooking was Mrs. Moretti’s way of dealing with stress. You see, Mrs. Moretti had a problem: Mr Moretti.

The neighborhood I grew up in was an average middle-class Midwestern neighborhood filled with three bedroom, one and one-half bath houses on maintained streets with good schools. This made Mr. Moretti’s possession of a Rolls Royce not just a little odd. I think I was only seven years old at the time, but that kind of car in a neighborhood like ours seemed odd even to a child. Everyone looked at the car constantly. Groups of adult neighbors would gather across the street and gaze endlessly upon the Rolls Royce, and then talk amongst themselves in hushed tones. All the kids just thought it was cool.

Then one day the Rolls Royce, and Mr. Moretti, disappeared. I asked Peter, but he had no idea why his Dad had to go away, but all the kids in the neighborhood did our best to piece together the story from the bits of conversation we were able to extract from our parents before being asked to leave the room. The two words I heard the most were ‘prison’ and ‘embezzlement’, but I couldn’t figure out why someone would have to go to jail for gluing rhinestones on a sweatshirt.

Then one day, the Moretti family was gone. No warning. Nothing. I later learned Mrs. Moretti moved back east to be with her family, but it would have been nice to at least say goodbye to Pete. But I will always remember the image of Mrs. Moretti in the kitchen. And while she made a lot of food I could never pronounce, the one thing I remember is her chocolate chip cookies because, to a seven-year-old, the chocolate chip cookie is the measure of a good cook. And there was no place for mustard in a chocolate chip cookie.


Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
2 large eggs

1 pound semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl.
3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and water in large mixer bowl until 
    creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
5. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
6. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment-lined baking sheets.
7. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and
    front to back half-way thought the cooking time to ensure even baking.

8. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Power of Pasta (Continued)


Katie was fascinated by the fact I made my own pasta. “How is that even possible?! Does everybody in Italy make their own pasta?”

It’s hard not to romanticize the idea of making your own pasta, or making your own anything for that matter. We live in an era where a great deal of our food comes out of a box because CONVENIENCE IS EVERYTHING! But people are trying to cook at home more. Maybe it’s because they want to develop their craft. Maybe they want to spend more time with their family. Maybe it’s because their house is in foreclosure and their already strained relationship with CitiBank Visa does not permit them to go to Chili’s nearly often as they used to. But whatever the reason, people are cooking and that’s a good thing.

The food shows reflect a bit of this change. There are shows for every taste and skill level. I watch some chefs and am simply in awe. The creativity and finesse are astounding. These people are truly inspiring. And then I see others and I wonder who they had to know……….or do…… even get a show.

There’s one, I can’t think of her name right now, it’s something like Candee Boxx, or something like that (oddly appropriate). I want to have an open mind, so I try to think of her recipes like culinary training wheels. Many people have an innate fear of cooking, not only due to the possibility of failure, but the fact that this failure will be up for inspection, and consumption by people you love and may or may not care for. So from that perspective, Candee provides a good entrée to the idea of cooking.

I watch Candee tear open boxes and rip open packages, toss it all in the microwave and then present a serviceable, if not slightly under-thought dish. She always seems so proud of herself at the end, when she’s making herself a cocktail. But maybe it’s all good. Seeing as she likes to drink so much, it’s probably best the recipes don’t have a lot of instructions.

So, while not everyone in Italy makes their own pasta, a bit more thought goes into the idea of what a meal is. It is a bit different in other parts of the world because I think food just means more in other parts of the planet. But it really does bring people together. And it’s not just the quality of the food; it’s the idea of sitting down with people you love and sharing something. Hopefully we are getting past the idea that food is something you order through a drive-thru window and should be easy to eat while you are texting. Here’s hopin’!

So Katie was thrilled she was going to eat homemade pasta for the first time.

“My God! He makes the best Fettuccine Alfredo! Gina said. But she was biased as this was her favorite pasta dish.

Katie wrinkled her nose as if she had just smelled a 16 year old boy’s gym shoes

“You don’t like Fettuccine Alfredo?” I asked, a little disappointed.

“It’s just so thick and gloppy!”

Gina put her hands on her hips, “Don’t tell me, Olive Garden?”

“No, Applebee’s.”

Gina and I both roared with laughter. Using Applebee’s as the yardstick by which to measure the standard of Fettuccine Alfredo was like giving a person a McDouble and saying, “So, how do you like hamburgers?” It could ruin you for life.

That next Saturday, we spent the day making dough and rolling it out in the machine. Katie watched with rapt attention as the rough mass of pasta dough was transformed into smooth sheets with just a little effort. Some of our friends at the party were more adventurous than others and were making bow tie shapes while most were happy simply to roll it and cut it. Katie’s enthusiasm made it feel like we were all making pasta for the first time. It was fun to have a new member of the clan and Katie really did fit. It’s always nice when all of your old friends adore the new one.

We made marinara, pesto and grated more Parmigiano-Reggiano than was really necessary, but it gave us an excuse to eat it!

As we sat down to eat, Katie’s trepidation was tangible. She started at the bowl of Fettuccine Alfredo in a combination of curiosity and fear. It didn’t help that we were all staring at her. She stabbed her fork into the dish, twirled that pasta with surprising skill and gave it a go. I had a feeling I was going to change Katie’s mind about Fettuccine Alfredo, but her reaction upon trying it seemed disproportionate to the simplicity dish.

She placed the fork in her mouth and closed her eyes. It seemed like the entire moment was in slow motion until Katie’s eyes flew open and she exclaimed, “Oh my God, this is GOOD! Who would’ve thought? I love this” The woman was moaning. Mission accomplished.

I wasn’t sure if she was more satisfied or relived that she liked it. But the girl kept eating and nothing could have made me happier. Nothing feels as good as having people you care for love your food. Nothing.

Fettuccine Alfredo


1 tablespoon kosher salt
¾ pound egg fettuccine
8 tablespoons unsalted butter,
divided into 3 tablespoon and 5 tablespoon portions, cut into pieces
¾ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated, divided into ½ cup and ¼ cup portions
⅔ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped

1. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large stock pot. Add 1 tablespoon of
salt. Cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water for the
sauce. Drain the pasta.
2. In a heat-proof gratin dish or an enameled cast iron casserole dish. Heat 3
tablespoons of the butter over low heat. Add the cooked pasta and toss to fully
3. Add the ½ cup of the cheese, reserved cooking water, cream, the remaining 5
tablespoons butter, salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine well.
Place Fettuccine Alfredo on a serving plate or divide among 4 entrée plates.
4. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup cheese over pasta and garnish with chopped
Italian parsley.

Serve immediately

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Power of Pasta

Home Made Pasta

It’s essential to allow the dough to rest before rolling. And, make sure the dough is smooth and supple before adjusting your machine in increments to thin the pasta dough out before cutting. Do not rush will not be happy with the results.

Fresh Pasta

Serves 4
Special equipment: Pasta Machine, parchment or waxed paper
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
Up to 3 teaspoons of water (if needed)
Coarse sea salt

On a clean work surface, mound flour and form a well in the center. Sprinkle with the ½ teaspoon salt. Place the eggs and egg yolks into a small mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Add the beaten eggs and yolks to the well.

Using a fork, slowly incorporate flour from inside rim of well. Continue until liquid is absorbed. It the dough is not coming together in a mass, sprinkle some water, 1 teaspoon at a time, over the dough and knead to incorporate. When dough forms a mass, knead for 10 minutes. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and let rest for 30 minutes and up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.

Divide dough into 4 pieces. Cover 3 pieces with plastic wrap. Flatten remaining dough piece so that it will fit through the rollers of a pasta machine. Set rollers of pasta machine at the widest setting, then feed pasta through rollers 6 or 7 times, folding and turning pasta until it is smooth and the width of the machine.

Roll pasta through machine, decreasing the setting, one notch at a time (At this point, do not fold or turn pasta), until pasta sheet is scant 1/16th of an inch thick. Cut sheet in half widthwise; dust both sides of sheets with flour. Layer sheets between floured pieces of parchment or wax paper. Cover with paper and repeat with remaining dough.

Work with one sheet of pasta at a time: With the short end of 1 pasta sheet facing you, loosely fold up sheet, folding sheet over three or four times from short ends toward the center.

With a large chef’s knife, cut folded sheet into ribbons, a scant ¼ inch wide. Unroll strips and lightly dust with flour; spread on a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pasta sheets.

To cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta, transfer to a large serving bowl and toss with pasta sauce of your choosing.