In times past birthday celebrations always involved expensive restaurants. We enjoyed the luxury of a good meal while someone else cooked, cleaned and served. I loved it then and when the time is right I still do. But, as we pare down to the essentials of what makes us happy, we’re circling back to the old joys of coming together in the new/old ways I mentioned in my previous post.
Last week we celebrated our special birthday girl’s 29th year in grand style. Not in a 4 star restaurant, but gathered around the kitchen island – laughing, sharing, cooking, sipping, eating, eating, eating and talking about important issues. Wow! If we’d had time to throw in a board game, it would have been perfect.
How great is it when you go to the mailbox and mixed in with the bills, political ads and offers for credit cards you find THE KEY. The key means you have a box waiting. In this case, the box held a bright shiny new pasta maker. I can’t begin to say how tickled I was – still am actually, by this lovely little guy. We call him Luigi the Linguine Maker and this guy is good. Ok, I have to admit that if you are simplifying and reducing, a pasta maker is not going to fit in the backpack and rollie. I know that and still, I wanted him. What could be better than making pasta from scratch to go with the luscious tomato sauce my friend and I spent so many hours canning over the summer and the fresh parsley/walnut pesto I made from the dark green Italian parsley the hubs grew in pots on our back deck.
Hand pressing the raviolis – not as easy as your Italian grandma makes it look.
I wanted to test this baby out right away, so I invited our son and the birthday girl over to make their own birthday dinner. I’m thinking home-made spaghetti with tomato sauce. They say “Okay, let’s make ravioli”. Oh to be 29 and fearless in the kitchen. So, of course, we made it all. We started at 3 o’clock, stopped to taste a bowl of our fresh fettucine at around 5 o’clock and finally sat down to our birthday feast at 7:30.
The final menu? Fresh garden salad, freshly baked foccacia bread, cheese ravioli, delicata squash ravioli, mushroom ravioli with a mushroom cream sauce, tomato sauce, parsley pesto sauce and an olive oil/walnut/fresh parm sauce. “This is the best pasta I have ever eaten!” said my husband, his cheeks bright red from the warm kitchen and two hours cranking the pasta maker. I couldn’t agree more. Four cooks in the kitchen was a crazy dance. Two dogs snoozed just far enough away to keep an eye out for anything tasty that might hit the floor. I was pooped beyond belief. I think we used every pot, pan and dish we owned, but we mastered the art of pasta rolling, sort of mastered ravioli and created a birthday dinner we will always remember.
The birthday girl finally sits down to enjoy her favorite – Mushroom ravioli in a mushroom cream sauce and she made it all herself. Yum-o!
So, who’s up next for Pasta Night at Casa Sims?