Pasta. It was the death of us.
While I wouldn’t mind leaving this world via pasta overdose, I wasn’t ready for it to be the bullet to my relationship almost 2 years ago. The homemade gnocchi was out to get us. What happened was this: Michael pressing the back of his fork into each fat, floury pillow and me thinking: “Oooh, I don’t like the way he’s doing this. Is that how he’s going to do this?” Yes, I admit it. I did not like the way he was doing it. He is not a careful cook. There, I said that, too. The man is not careful. His food may taste good from time to time, but he is concerned with neither technique nor measurement. Everything he does is on his own clock. You may have come to teach him the lesson, but… he’ll take it from here. I watched him use the fork to make the gnocchi indentations, but they were not looking uniform enough for me. Me, I like things to be right. The chef said to do it this way, I pleaded with him. And that was all it took for him to drop the fork, lift his arms like he was under arrest, step away from the counter, and leave the kitchen. It was the last straw, or the last strand of spaghetti so to speak. We broke up over gnocchi.
His dad got us a pasta-making class at the Meat Hook / Brooklyn Kitchen in Williamsburg this year for Christmas. My body froze when I opened the envelope. Oh god, a pasta-making class. How cute, how great! my smile said. But in my head? Is he trying to split us up 2 months before our wedding? Is this a test? Are we going to fail? If a couple can’t make pasta together, are they doomed? I have to go to Williamsburg on a weeknight? Where the hell is Frost Street? I was a little nervous.
Auspiciously, gnocchi was not on the class menu tonight. Fettucine and ravioli had been called to the plate. The teacher / chef was a small-waisted little woman who I suspected did not eat a lot of pasta. She referenced her husband a lot (“My husband doesn’t salt his dough,” etc.) because he’s a chef with a catering company and she’s not. She even went so far as to say: “My husband doesn’t think my pasta is very good.” Then why are we here? I wondered. Fettucine and ravioli, add it to the list! It was going to be the second death of Michael and I and all because of a tiny woman whose husband makes better pasta.
I think we both knew we had to make this work. For the last 2 years, I have been completely turned off by the idea of attempting homemade pasta. Overnight it became the world’s most daunting effort. But in reality, in Williamsburg, fresh pasta is actually really easy to make, not to mention incredibly satisfying once you’ve hit your (relationship) rhythm. I was the dough folder while Michael cranked. At times, with sweet delicacy, we both helped the paper sheets unfold from their deli-slicer- cold-cut-look. A delicacy I did not know Michael had in him. That is until he plopped too much ricotta mixture into our ravioli divots. I wanted to shake my rolling pin at him. She said only a teaspoon. Only a teaspoon! I wanted to shake it and I did shake it. The only difference this time around was that he let me say it. And when he shrugged his shoulders… I did the same.
We made beautiful pasta tonight. I knew we had it in us.