• Emily Neilson

Pasta is NOT the Enemy!

I caught myself thinking yesterday about all the folks who have sworn off, or who are at least in the January swear-off, of pasta. In previous lives, I've totally been there – that pasta is the enemy, that carbs become pounds, etc.

The other day, Taylor suggested we try a raw-vegan exercise for 10 days. What!!? I gawked! I lamented! It's not the season for that! I shot it down!

We've been vegan for about a year and a half now and have never spared flavor or texture on our plates. And hey, it works – I'm down 20 pounds, and I think Taylor's at fighting-weight, too. He shows off his six-pack every day.

Here's the thing: when you want the pasta, make the pasta. But I mean, really make it. Spend thirty minutes in the morning and prepare your dough. Flour, Semolina flour (if you have it!), salt, olive oil, and water – that is all you need! I followed this recipe from Bianca Zapatka

Then, spend 8 minutes kneading it. Get to know it. Don't panic, just keep kneading, and it will soften and become smooth. Wrap it tightly in plastic, put it in the fridge, and wait until dinner.

It probably helps a lot to have a pasta roller, so order one (Amazon has plenty of choices)! It's fun to turn the crank and roll the dough thinner and thinner until it's feels like silk but has the weight of velvet in your hands. Then, of course, there's the satisfying moment when you switch the crank to the cutting side, and turn your handkerchief into ribbons of fettuccine.

What I cooked last night, it was on the advanced-end of simple. Our pasta would have been fantastic with just olive oil, simmered garlic, salt and pepper, a dusting of nutritional yeast. Our Lemon-Garlic Sauce took us to the Amalfi Coast (recipe from Milk Street Magazine; I'm not sure you can find it online, but it's a wonderful magazine to subscribe to for the foodies. I adapt many recipes to be vegan, like I did for this one).

In a way, cooking vegan can be an amazing return to the basics – and one that your taste buds and body (and soul and planet and animals) will thank you for.

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