Dancing with the Stars

I make my own pasta because I love the flavor.

Somehow, there is just nothing like the flavor of fresh, house-made pasta. A little nutty, maybe. I’m not even 100% sure.

But the key is that there is, in fact, flavor. Wonderfully fresh flavor.

Unlike dried, packaged pastas. Which taste like nothing. And beg for a strong sauce to cover up that unfortunate condition.

And the best flavor comes from using pure semolina flour.

Semolina actually denotes the way the Duram wheat berries are milled. Coursely, not fine. But the term has become synonymous with Duram wheat flour in general.

What gives Duram wheat it’s special flavor is that it is one of the highest protein content flours.

Most bread is baked with hard wheat flour, and pastries and cakes are often made with soft wheat flours. Both of which have a lower protein content than Duram, allowing for a more tender and less chewy crumb desired in bread and cakes.

But chewy is just what you want for pasta. To achieve that mystical ‘al Dente’ texture, i.e. a slight chew ‘to the teeth’.

Nutty, fresh, chewy. A brilliant base for any sauce.

So the sauce can be the complement. It does not have to be the sole star of the dish. The pasta and the sauce – equal partners in a very flavorful dance on the plate.

This allows for subtle sauces like Aglio Olio (i.e. roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil), or a creamy Carbonata sauce (egg yolks, bacon, pepper, parmesan – yum!). These types of sauces might be a bit weak on a tasteless pasta base, but with all the flavor the fresh semolina pasta brings to the plate, these suaces can really shine.

Or try the fresh fava bean, prosciutto and mint sauce on top of the fresh semolina pasta. Now that is something you rarely see, and would probably never make at home, as it is just too much work to extract those fava beans from their double shells. But paired with the nutty fresh semolina pasta – wow! Complex and satisfying flavors make the dish something special.

My idea of perfectly paired dancing with the stars!

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