A turning point: I've now made real, edible food in culinary school!
I associate pasta with being a lazy college student (boil water, dump in box of penne, open jar of tomato sauce, shovel noodles into mouth while pondering Kelly Bensimon's bronzer application on the Real Housewives of New York) or with being a vehicle for cheese (occasionally the neon, powdered kind).
So the idea of making homemade pasta always seems to defeat the purpose. All that cutting and drying is not what I have in mind when I'm craving a giant bowl of Bolognese.
The solution: gnocchi. Who knew those chubby nubbins were so simple?
Mash a potato (or sweet potato)
Add yolk, flour, salt
Mix thoroughly with your hands
Roll into a cylinder with a 2cm diameter
Cut into 1cm x 2cm (yes, we've transitioned to metrics, but never fear, I usually just guesstimate the size) rectangles; roll into slightly more rounded nubbins (they look like little cocoons!)
That little tool pictured above just gives them added flair, i.e. lines
You can also jazz it up by stuffing in a couple small pieces of cheese (mozzarella was delightful) and rollling them into round balls. These are super impressive- a VOLCANO of cheese erupts in your mouth!- and no one will ever know that making them requires the same skills you used as a kindergartner futzing with Play-Dough:
We topped our gnocchi with some heart-attack-in-a-bowl sauces: roquefort cream sauce and saffron cream sauce. Both delicious and very simple: 1) make a roux (cooked flour plus butter), add cheese and cream for the roquefort sauce; 2) sauté diced onion in white wine, strain, add saffron, cream and parmesan for the saffron. If I were pretending to care about cholesterol, something slightly, uh, lighter- a pesto or puttanesca sauce- would have been a nice foil for the heaviness of the gnocchi.
Success: our pasta professor was a fan and even hammed it up for the camera: