From My Mother’s Kitchen: Spaghetti & Breakfast
EVENT: Dinner for Breakfast
VENUE: Cara’s Apartment, Park Slope
PARTY SIZE: 2 for dinner, 1 for leftovers
TYPE: Extra Homemade; Leftovers
MENU: Beef Stew with Fresh Pasta; Fried Noodles
The evening I made beef stew for dinner, I found myself a little bored around 6pm, when I’d normally be cutting and chopping and otherwise prepping. The reason was I’d made the stew in the slow cooker overnight, and though I’d spent some time browning and chopping the evening before, all that remained was to reheat the stew which had been mellowing in the fridge all day. For most, this would be good news. It’s almost the point of the slow cooker–that dinner’s on the table without much effort in the hour preceding it. But for me, it meant a feeling of aimlessness.
That’s when I decided that the only worthy bed for my beef stew was a mess of homemade noodles.
I followed the basic recipe from TheKitchn, though I’d made pasta at home and in classes before. What I was most wary about was the rolling: I don’t have a pasta maker. What I do have is a new, very heavy and strong rolling pin from OXO, which I won from being a finalist on Food52. With my “dining room” table at hip height, I found that the combined weight of the rolling pin and my upper body created enough pressure to roll out the pasta dough thinly enough that I could see my hand through the sheets. Then I folded the sheets up into thirds or fourths and cut myself lots of wide, uneven tagliatelle.
The next morning, I took the cold, slightly stiff noodles out of the container I’d stored them in. I was going to eat the leftovers for breakfast, but with a new special preparation. Like most strange and special preparations, it has its roots in childhood eating habits: As a kid, one of the best breakfasts was a plate of “fried noodles.” I seem to recall I was the one of my sisters who liked fried noodles the most, and so I’d get dibs when we’d had some sort of pasta dinner the night before. The charm of fried noodles lies equally in the taste of slightly browned butter and in the crispy edges the pasta pieces acquire. All pasta shapes make for good fried noodles, but my fresh pasta was extraordinary, the crispy parts of the strands resembling pan-fried dumplings more than anything else.
From my kitchen, where spaghetti becomes an excellent breakfast, to yours,
Cara, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK
Like fried rice, this works much better if the noodles have had the night to cool and dry out in the fridge.
1 cup leftover cooked, cooled pasta
2 teaspoons butter
fried egg, grated cheese (optional)
Place the pat of butter in a small frying pan. Over low heat, melt it, then add the pasta. Cook until the edges are crispy, mixing occasionally so you don’t end up with a nest of sorts. Sprinkle with salt and serve. topping with some grated cheese or a fried egg if you’re so inclined.