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The first time I make pasta from scratch I’m 16, rolling out and stuffing “orange-moon ravioli”, an homage to a beloved poem, “Wedding Reception”. It’ll be many years before I come to realize how accurately the poem captures the landscape of a wedding for me, but the imagery is enough to feel paired to it. There is something about it that talks right to me.
I tell this story to my husband as I order a pasta attachment for my kitchenaid. In another tab I look up the poem to read to him, a revisiting I do every couple years to keep it in my mind. This time, though, it’s missing. In the endless expanse of the internet, it’s found somewhere to hide—can this even happen? Isn’t the internet ‘forever’? What I do find is a website for an energy healer with the same name, Jennifer Chapis. I take a chance and write her a message. I go to bed.
In the morning, I am floored to see her name in my inbox: “Yes, it’s me!”. Not only is it her, she graciously sends me a copy of the poem and a message with such warmth and candor, I feel like I’ve known her for years. A tiny part of her, at least, I have—this poem that’s stayed with me for half of my life now, this strange and vivid scene that still envelops me like it used to. I am starstruck; I have unknowingly played the long game, closing a loop that started when I was barely a licensed driver. It is the pure and natural magic of the poem come to life.
I bring this energy of the orange-moon ravioli with me as I make pasta for the second time.
It’s warm in my kitchen when I mound the flour up and drop the eggs in the middle, a big mess that kneads down into a soft yellow dough. It’s exhilarating, maybe unduly, to see how the dough flattens down in the roller and uniformly shreds through the cutter. The pieces are long but I like the drama, so I don’t bisect them. They cook quickly and hold up proudly al dente, shaped into a nest under the rich bolognese that goes on top. It is a meal softened and tinged-orange by its connection to the poem, and a handful of candles light the table like the glow of an outdoor wedding.
By Jennifer Chapis
Alone at an outdoor table for two,
my arms are church aisles.
I hear his pierced nipple whistle
when the breeze tickles your bare chest.
Your nipple makes wonderful music, I whisper
to your ghost.
I enjoy being in the wrong place, he admits,
tightening your necktie knot.
The bride and groom drift across the dance floor
like leaves on piano keys
as we eat
orange-moon ravioli, lentil stuffed.
Arugula is the one lettuce that wishes… I say.
…it could grow legs? He guesses.
I am grateful the quartet broke up
so I can hear the new you.
Spotlights expose the vacant stage.
Trees’ tongue-leaves surround us.
The following is the recipe I used, as found here
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons water
On a clean work surface, make a mound with the flour and create a well in the middle and add the eggs, egg yolk, salt, olive oil and water.
Using a fork, beat the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour from the inner rim of the mound, making sure the mound stays intact with the other hand.
The dough will start to come together and once there is no more liquid use your hands to start kneading the dough with the palm of your hands.
Do not force the dough to take all the flour, just until the dough comes together and is not too sticky to handle.
If the dough does take all the flour and is still too sticky, add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Continue to knead for up to 10 minutes, the kneading is what makes the dough nice and light.
Once the dough is nice and soft and smooth, wrap it in plastic wrap, making sure it is well wrapped so no areas of the dough dry out.
Set aside for 30 minutes to rest.
Once the dough has rested, cut it into quarters.
Take one quarter, wrap the other quarters back in the plastic wrap.
Shape the quarter with your hands into a rectangle.
With your pasta machine set to the largest setting the dough through.
Fold the dough in half and pass through again on the largest setting. Repeat this 2 more times.
Turn the machine to the next setting and pass the dough through.
Keep running the dough through decreasing the setting each time until you reach the last setting.
Attach the tagliatelle attachment to the machine and pass the dough through one last time.
Drape the tagliatelle over your hand and transfer to a floured board or baking sheet and allow to dry for 30 minutes. Or if you have a pasta hanger you can use that.
The pasta is best used right away. If you want to store it, I like to portion out the pasta, put the in individual freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months. Then you can just throw the frozen pasta into boiling water when you need it.