Lou’s invitation to a farewell lunch came by e-mail. He said I could pick the place, any of my favorite lunch spots in town. Instead of choosing a restaurant, I asked if we could eat Chez Lou’s, his house. With the best food, relaxed atmosphere and convenient location, it is the hands down winner in every category. It might just be what I’ll miss most while I’m away since any local lunch spot fails in comparison.
So I was thrilled when he not only replied “Then Lou’s it is,” but when he asked if I’d like to make pasta together, I was ecstatic. It’s not just his lovely loaves of bread and hand rolled pasta I’ll crave while away but also the times spent together in the kitchen preparing and enjoying food together.
I arrived promptly at 11:30 am as scheduled, garden salad in hand. (No need to show up late and get heckled during my farewell lunch.) As always, Lou was ready, his dough already made and resting and the pasta press, trays and semolina set up and ready for action. His garden fresh tomato sauce with sliced mushrooms was simmering on the stove and basil rinsed and ready to get sliced in at the last minute just before serving.
Lou turned the crank, opting for a motor-less pasta press believing it was more efficient in creating ribbons of dough. It was certainly nicer since the hum of a motor can be a distracting backdrop to conversation. I assisted Lou once in a while, as the dough stretched and thinned, getting teased once in a while for doing something wrong. And once the dough was nearly three feet long, I cut in half and rolled each end towards the center to hand cut the fettuccine and gave it a flip with the knife to let the pasta fall, an old Italian trick Lou says. We finished the pasta making in twenty five minutes with time to spare before Christina joined us and had several mounds leftover for Lou to freeze for another time. Even though we’re both pros at this communal cooking thing,
Lou remarked how much more efficient and enjoyable it was than doing it alone. In Lou’s words, to be able to have conversation with a friend and prepare food in half the time! What could be better?
When Christina arrived, we had everything ready to go. Lou even lit candles for our charming lunch. We sat together, swooning over every delectable bite of our homemade lunch. While away, I’ll have the taste of a meal to remember as well as the calm and quiet moments preparing it together with my friend. In my opinion, that’s a perfect Bon Voyage lunch!
Lou’s Pasta Dough
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
3 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces water
Using an electric mixer such as a Kitchen Aid Mix, mix all ingredients until mixture comes together. Knead with your hands for a minute or two and then separate the dough into 6 equal portions and let rest covered at room temperature. (Lou lets his dough rest in a freezer bag.)