It’s the time of year when you only have to look at a banana and it gets black spots quicker than Jim Hawkins in the Admiral Benbow. Six of them, covered in a lace circle to protect them and us from the cursed fruit flies — as we know, time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana — have reached the point of no return. There is an equal amount of yellow to black. It was time for a banana bread. An hour and a half later, two warm loaves were sitting on the bench, loosely covered in foil and cooling slowly, too slowly for my stomach’s liking.
Noah and Maya would be home from various activities later, starving as usual. For some reason, even after a big meal, they act as if they’ve been at sea for a month with only a ship’s biscuit full of weevils for sustenance. This banana bread would buy me some time until supper was ready.
Maya’s been on at me for ages to make pappardelle, the last time we had it she was wide-eyed at the size of it and I’ve been promising for ages. So tonight she has her wish. And as far as home-made pasta goes, what could be simpler? One egg for every 100 grams of flour — This time I replaced 150g of ’00’ flour out of the 500g with semolina for texture — that’s it. Apart from salt and time. Rolled thinly and then sliced and dried a little, it went with a tomato and meatball sauce.
They didn’t say a word over supper, perhaps they were exhausted or perhaps they loved it. Either way, I had some beautiful, quiet peace.
350g ’00’ flour
150g fine semolina
5 medium free-range, organic eggs. The more golden the yolk, the brighter yellow the pasta
A pinch of salt
Pour the flour into a large bowl and mix in the salt. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs.
With a fork, slowly start to whisk the eggs, gently bringing in a little flour at a time from the crater of the volcano until you have a soft dough. If it is too dry, add a splash of water, if too wet, add a pinch of flour.
Knead the dough until it becomes elastic then shape into a fairly flat rectangle, wrap well and leave to rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
Roll through a pasta roller — by all means use a rolling pin if you need too — until thin enough to let the light through.
Rub well with some more semolina then lightly fold over a few times lengthwise and cut into strips.
Hang over a chair or similar to dry out a little then cook in well salted boiling water for four to five minutes until al dente.
Goes well with ragu.