I had big plans to blog all about the best buffet at which I have eaten (it’s on the top floor of a fancy building, it has homemade rolls with honey butter, cold salmon at the salad bar, prime rib, and a billion desserts). But dinner attacked tonight and I couldn’t resist taking a quick recess to tell you all about it.

This is the dinner from hell that damn near killed me a homemade ravioli, stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, and fresh spinach:

Yes, my hands are dusted with flour, callused from hard work out in the field (er, at the counter with my bamboo rolling pin). Yes, I made that pasta dough by myself. Yes, I thought up the filling all by myself. I didn’t measure — that’s for sissies. I just threw it all in a bowl, stirred it up, and prepared to amaze my husband.

Yep, that one ravioli took me an hour. “Why Mary,” you’re saying right now, “You must have typed the wrong word because there’s no way one ravioli would take you an hour!” Au contraire. The filling came together quickly and easily; the ricotta was soft and a little bit like cloud playdough. I tore the spinach by hand (admittedly this is because I was certainly willing to cover our entire counter with flour and dough, but very unwilling to dirty a cutting board), and stirred the mixture gently.

What I did not anticipate, since I was armed with a rolling pin that would help me dominate the world (I’ve never had a rolling pin before; it made me excited), was how difficult rolling pasta dough by hand would actually be. Let this be fair warning to those of you not equipped with a pasta machine: don’t fool yourself into thinking you will succeed any better than I did. The recipe informed me that the pasta dough would be “stiff” (this, after about 6-7 Tbsp. of water and oil when the recipe called for only 2), but it was actually more like bubble gum you’d chewed on for about an hour and then left on your bedpost overnight. (Do people still do this? If so, it’s really a filthy habit.)

But I am stubborn and Husband was home and hungry and I was going to make him homemade ravioli if it killed me. It took me 2 hours, but I was able to say at the end of that time period that I’d made twenty-two of the finest spinach/three-cheese raviolis you’d find outside of an Italian restaurant. Or the grocery store. (Just think, if I’d just bought the Costco two-pack I’d have finished dinner in about 4 minutes. *lays down in bed, sobbing*) I should qualify that with the fact that I did feed him in stages; he started with nine, then about 10 minutes later I gave him three, then after I ate the six I was going to get all night, I gave him the rest in batches of two or three.

To say that my arms and back are sore from rolling “stiff” dough for about an hour and a half is an understatement. In fact, there is entirely the possibility that I will have to call in sick tomorrow at work, unable to get myself out of bed. It’s like the time I did a boot camp day in high school aerobics and missed school because I could move my head and that was about it.

At the end of my adventure, this was what was remaining:

I’d run out of steam and an interest in making homemade pasta. Those strips looked back at me, with icy stares, and I threw them away without a second thought.

Here’s what I learned tonight: a rolling pin doth not equal world domination and cooking is as much a workout routine as it is enjoyment and eating. Whoever said pasta makes you fat clearly never made any at home. The thing that really killed me was how delicious it turned out; had it been disgusting, I could have easily thrown that dough and remaining filling away and made something else, but I was suddenly driven to continue because it was just that good.

Don’t ask me how I felt, then, when I discovered a woman from church (about two blocks from me, whom I visited fifteen minutes after finishing dinner) has, in her home, at this precise moment, a pasta machine. Let’s just not go there.

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