Like many others, I've been taking more than just a bit of inspiration from the land of television. Luckily I don't watch too many gory crime or medical shows, but cooking shows I'm definitely a fan, and I have them to thank for propelling a few mates to making fresh pasta one night.
I've always wanted to make my own pasta and it didn't seem too difficult, aside from a hectic gnocchi I once made. Armed with a few bottles of wine, nothing's impossible as we work with a few basic ingredients: egg, flour and elbow grease.
The decision is made for a richer pasta dough; hence the concentration of egg yolks. Unsurprisingly this results in an eggy pasta, which we do two ways as seems to be the trend these days.
The first is a simple fettuccine, fed through the pasta maker to produce beautiful thin ribbons. After a brief initial period of making someone stand holding the fettuccine for drying, two chairs ingeniously take their place as innovative rests for our curtains of pasta.
Although the making of pasta takes infinitely longer than opening a pack of dried pasta, the cooking process is a slight redeemer.
The simple things in life are best - isn't that what they say? Then topping off our freshly made/cooked pasta with a simple tomato and red wine sauce, fresh basil and parmesan is the way to go.
That's the simple out of the way. Now to the more complex home cooking that makes you realise and cherish the value of restaurants. As tough as it is to accept, not everyone is a master of everything in the kitchen.
We're attempting to make the second course of ravioli filled with a veal mince. To be honest, ravioli seems easy enough - little square parcels of meat, not unlike a Chinese wonton. The process is, however, a little more labour intensive than initially thought. At one point, we had a conveyor belt of three people making balls of mince, cutting the pasta and enclosing the edges while the others cooked the ravioli in batches.
They end up looking pretty decent, but the difficulty of eliminating air bubbles in the filling makes me think Latina isn't so bad afterall.
We 'plate up' eventually and it doesn't look too bad. Topped off with an attempt at a burnt butter sauce, caramelised balsamic vinegar and a couple of fried basil leaves, we contentedly eat our combined efforts in conjunction with more wine, store-bought desserts, random trivia and DVDs. We may not quite have mastered the art of pasta making, but we certainly know how to enjoy ourselves in the process and a lot of national flags that contain the colour green.