Fresh pasta… The ancient Chinese secret
Welcome back readers to the half literate gibberish that is the Pot and Pan Handlers blog. Today we’re going back in history to solve a problem you might not know you have… A depressing lack of fresh pasta replaced with thick dried sheets of pasta manufactured by a Henry Ford-esque production line in Bannockburn, Illinois. An Italian Grandmother is rolling over in her grave at the very thought of such a thing. Resto facile Nonna, for with a little help from the Far East we will have access to fresh pasta, the only skill needed: open the freezer door.
In the beginning
Like all stories this one begins at the beginning so let’s get started. When I was a wee little Pot Handler sometimes my parents would take us to Fargo North Dakota’s answer to Chinese food: Nine Dragons, where I first discovered the beauty that is fried cream cheese wontons. Then, one day at Larson’s (local corner grocery store, that like most locally owned corner grocery stores, folded when people fled from them in droves to save 15 cents on butt-wipe from a megalomart) while there, I discovered a package of wonton wraps. Intriguing, thought I, if throwing cream cheese in these prepackaged squares and frying is all there is to it… I could do it at home.
So I purchased them and went home with dreams of fried Chinese take-out dancing in my head. Once I got home, I took off the lid and preheated my parent’s fry daddy, spooned some cream cheese into a wonton wrap and fried it. In mere minutes I was eating a homemade cream cheese wonton, fresh from the fryer. This was something that until that moment I had thought would be quite impossible.
Boom, it was on. Ham & cheese, turkey, broccoli & cheese, PB&J, anything I could shove in a wrap, I fried that shit. A short lived phase… but a useful one nonetheless, as it would one day serve me well to remember the fresh pasta squares that are wonton wraps in the future.
Years later the Pan Handler came into my life and we moved to Madison, Wisconsin where we had the good fortune to live within walking distance of an Italian Deli, Fraboni’s. http://frabonisdeli.com/ inside that deli, I was introduced to many wonderful things; authentic Porkettas, Muffuletta sandwiches, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and genuine, handmade, thin, fresh pasta. For 5 years whenever we needed pasta we went to Fraboni’s.
Then one day we moved, to the seventh ring of hell, or Rochester, Minnesota, I forget which. Guess what dedicated readers? You can live on every single block of the seventh ring of hell, or Rochester, Minnesota and you’ll never be within walking distance of fresh pasta. I can hear ya’ now, what kind of shit is that? Yeah, right, exactly. Until one day I thought, what the hell is pasta anyway? Eggs, flour and water, nothing more and nothing less… just like wonton wraps and their larger counter part egg roll wraps with the added bonus of wraps are thinner than dried pasta, much like traditional Italian pasta.
Not a bad wrapper… for a white guy.
Ever since that day, often when we need pasta we buy wonton and or egg roll wraps and keep the leftovers, double bagged in the freezer so we’ve always got fresh pasta on hand. Now you can too. Cut spring roll wraps with a pizza cutter into linguine-esque noodles, use em’ as lasagna noodles, or stuff wonton wraps with a ricotta mixture and boil to make raviolis. You can even take it a step further, dip ‘em in egg wash, flour, back in the egg wash into panko, let rest, and fry. Oh you’re too healthy for that shit… Fine, that shit tastes good baked too. Do you like mozzarella sticks? You can wrap a string cheese in an egg roll wrap and use the same egg wash, flour, panko mixture to make cheese sticks. Why do that at home when there’s a bar with cheese sticks on the menu close to your house? Because those pricks never put in a slice of pepperoni or a leaf of basil in their cheese sticks, and you can.
Coming soon… Don’t eat like a bitch, a comprehensive guide to eating BBQ sandwiches, Made rites and sloppy Joes, because you’re doing it wrong. Until then use your new found pastafarian ways for good, never for evil… -The Pot and Pan Handler.