If you've never made homemade pasta before, you might assume that it's a lot of work and just opt for the boxed stuff instead. At least, that is, before you find out that all it takes is two ingredients (flour and eggs), a little elbow grease, and a sense of humor. Allow me to explain.
Last night, we got to hang out with power couple Neil Patrick Harris and his husband, David Burtka (chef, cookbook author, entertainer, and party planner du jour), to celebrate the launch of Capital One's Savor Card, and ate lots of yummy pasta along the way. While David and Neil tag-teamed to make homemade pasta, we picked up a few delicious tips about pasta and life in general.
Our favorite little tip came after David impressively turned a volcano of flour and eggs into pasta dough and Neil provided this helpful (???) bit of instruction: "You should spread it out until it's maybe the shape of a large human tongue. Then use an actual pasta maker to crank it to the right thickness."
The hilariously talented TV and Broadway actor is kind of kidding, but also not. That's pretty much exactly what your dough should look like before feeding it into your pasta maker. (And now, you'll never be able to unsee that. You're welcome.)
Here's what else we learned while making pasta with David and Neil.
1. A box grater is key for fresh tomato sauce.
Use a large box grater to break down tomatoes. "Just grate 'em! You can chop them too, but this way is easier and it just breaks it down a lot better," says David. "I sort of like the rustic feel of mushy tomato."
2. Their kids are whizzes in the kitchen.
Their twins, Harper and Gideon, might only be 7-going-on-8, but they also have culinary skills! "They've been super into breakfasts lately, which is amazing. Our daughter, Harper, loves to make pancakes. David wrote a recipe for her in large font on a piece of paper and it's helped her learn how to read, and also math," Neil says. "And fractions!" David adds. "This is great because then we can sleep in — and she's so proud of them."
3. They like to watch TV after dinner.
"We just started this awesome new show — it's on HBO. It's called ... Game of Thrones. We just finished the second season so it's been incredibly difficult to be like la, la, la spoilers, la, la, la for the last seven years," Neil jokes. "He makes me call him 'My grace' now," says David. "Yes, your grace."
4. There's a trick to eating airplane food.
"I honestly think the ingredients are getting stronger, and they're paying more attention to the food [on airplanes]," Neil says. "But usually, no matter what I order, I just chop it into tiny little cube-sized bites and add balsamic. That's what's going to happen in my belly anyway."
5. Flowers are the worst thing you can bring for a host.
"I hate getting flowers," says David. "I can't stand when I have to stop what I'm doing to find a vase and cut the flowers. I think it's very thoughtful, but if you're going to bring flowers, put them in a vase. I love getting homemade dessert, though. Anything that's from the heart goes above and beyond."
6. David's latest cookbook is coming out this spring.
"My new cookbook is called Life Is a Party and it's broken up by season. There will be over 100 recipes for every occasion, and it's all about celebrating every day like it's a party — you always have a reason," David says of his new book coming out in May. Neil chimes in with some major supportive vibes: "I'm so proud of David. He didn't hire someone to make the recipes; he actually tested all 100 of them and we even threw all of the parties."