Your family will love this beautiful, fresh homemade pasta for dinner.
Whole Wheat Linguini served with olive oil, garlic and parmesan.
I come from a very large family, especially on my mother’s side. We’re all over the place but many of us reside in either Maryland or New York. Every 10 years my cousins organize a large family reunion and our most recent gathering was held about a year and a half ago at a campground near the Maryland/Pennsylvania border. Jeff and I were newlyweds at the time and he graciously agreed to be subjected to over 75 members of my family for an entire weekend.
There were non-stop events planned for the reunion so no one would be bored. During one of the evenings we all gathered in a large sitting room for a slideshow of family photos followed by a game show. Fun fact- my brother, Dave, has a side business as a traveling game show host and he brought his entire setup to the family reunion. I’m pretty positive I firmly told him in advance that I would not be a contestant in whatever games he brought. I try to be supportive but standing in front of large crowds isn’t really my thing.
So we’re all seated in the room and my brother heads to the front and asks for volunteers for his version of The Newlywed’s Game (was this a setup or what?). My not-so-newlywed cousins Ken and Michelle volunteered and then Jeff raised his hand. Before I could yank it down my brother called out to us and up to the stage we went.
Jeff and Ken stood on the left side of my brother with dry erase boards while Michelle and I took our spots on the right. We were playing for $5 Starbucks coupons. One of the first answers Michelle and I had to write down was our favorite movie. I confidently wrote down Lost in Translation, knowing we had it in the bag. Jeff knew that was my favorite movie. He bought me the DVD as a birthday gift and HELLO, it’s listed as my favorite movie on Facebook. We nodded at each other with a total “oh yeah, we got this” look. Michelle leaned over to me and whispered “Ken’s never going to get this” and showed me her movie: The Sound of Music. I could already taste the Starbucks coffee.
“Ken,” asked my brother “what is Michelle’s favorite movie”?
Ken cleared his throat and leaned into the microphone. “Working Girl.”
“WHAT?” yelled Michelle. “Whose favorite movie is Working Girl?”
“And Jeff,” asked my brother “what did my sister write down as her favorite movie?”
Jeff leaned into the microphone. “Xanadu!” he proudly stated as everyone roared with laughter. “NO!” I yelled, showing him my dry erase board. And then I clearly heard my father in the back of the room yell “Oh COME ON, Jennifer, even I know your favorite movie is Xanadu!”
Look, I get why people think this is a stupid movie. The acting and plot leave… a bit to be desired. But I don’t care.
Honestly it’s embarrassing how much I still love this movie and many of my friends tease me about it. I get texts when it comes on TV. When I was little we had several movies on VHS and I would watch them over and over again. The Neverending Story. Explorers. The Goonies. Xanadu was by far my favorite. I thought Olivia Newton John was the most beautiful person in the world and I wanted to be her. I wanted to dance on rollerskates with Gene Kelly and be adored by Michael Beck. Little girls don’t care about bad acting and plot holes. They believe in neon lights and magic muses.
I’m a bit of an 80s nostalgia junkie. I love anything that reminds me of my childhood. A time before life became more complicated. What can I say, Xanadu takes me back to that place. Yeah, if you see someone driving down the road blasting the Xanadu soundtrack and singing Electric Light Orchestra at the top of her lungs it’s probably me. At least I’m not singing the soundtrack to Working Girl, am I right?
Should I stop rambling about Olivia Newton John and my childhood and perhaps talk about whole wheat linguini? I suppose that’s why you’re here. I love homemade pasta. It’s very easy to make and you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen. And while I use an Imperia Pasta Machine, you can technically make it without any special equipment aside from a rolling pin. Roll the pasta as thin as possible and then use a knife (or even better, a pizza slicer) to slice thin strips of pasta.
You can use any ratio of whole wheat to all purpose flour here. 100% whole wheat linguini will be very toothsome and a bit grainy but still tasty. If you visit my recipe for pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sauce you’ll see a few more photos of the pasta making process.
Whole Wheat Linguini
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour, or use all whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- semolina flour to prevent sticking
- Sift/whisk together the flours and salt. Place on a clean surface and make a well in the middle. Add the egg and olive oil.
- Beat the eggs and olive oil in the well with a fork and begin slowly incorporating the flour with a swirling circular motion, eventually switching to a bench scraper or your hands. Start forming a ball and squeeze the dough together with your fingers. You want the dough to be a bit tacky. Not quite sticky, but not too dry either. If the dough feels sticky, a bit more flour may be incorporated.
- Once the dough is formed, wrap in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Either by hand or machine, roll out thin strips of pasta. Use the linguini attachment or a pizza slicer to create thin strips of linguini.
- Set aside to dry on a rack (a hanger also works well) and bring salted water to a boil. Cook for 3-5 minutes, testing frequently. Homemade pasta cooks much faster!
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