Homemade Pasta Is the Perfect Quarantine Food

©. Melissa Breyer

Easier to make than bread but just as satisfying, making pasta at home is simple, comforting, and delicious – and takes just two ingredients.

When news of a potential lockdown first started making the rounds, I thought, "as long as we have flour and eggs I can make pasta, and as long as we have olive oil and sea salt to dress it, we will have a delicious meal." A month into self quarantine and we have access to more food than I expected, but I am sticking with the homemade pasta strategy. So much so that we made it for Easter dinner. As it turns out, not only is it one of the simplest things one can make, but it is meditative and comforting in a way that's very well-suited for current times.

And I especially recommend it to anyone who can not jump onto the home-baked bread bandwagon. You get the same kitchen alchemy of turning simple ingredients into something impressive – plus the primal satisfaction of hands-in-dough – but there's less know-how required and it's a quicker turnaround time.

For the ravioli pictured above – our Easter ravioli – I used a mix of organic, unbleached all-purpose flour mixed with some spelt flour; the deep color is thanks to the golden yolks of heirloom eggs. (For vegan pasta, you can replace the eggs with olive oil and water. For a recipe that starts with two cups of flour, use 1/2 a cup of water and two teaspoon of olive oil instead of the eggs, adding more water as needed.)

I used a cookie cutter to make them, but I don't have a cookie-cutter aesthetic, I'm more rustic, so they are a bit (beautifully!) frowsy. Once cooked, they look like this:

homemade ravioli

© Melissa Breyer

We filled them with ricotta and lemon zest, and then dressed them with an herb compound butter made from all the odd bits of herbs in the fridge. We added some Parmigiano, fresh tomatoes, and more lemon zest, and that's it. (There are plenty of vegan options for filling as well; sometimes we just stuff them with nothing more than sauteed, chopped mushrooms.) So easy, and so delicious.

The basics go like this: Mix flour and eggs, knead into a ball, let rest for 30 minutes, roll out, cut, stuff (if you want a filled pasta), boil, eat. You can make it easily with a food processor and hand-crank pasta roller, or go grandma-style with kneading it straight on the counter and rolling it out with a rolling pin. You can make it super simple, or use specialty flours and flavors. You can dress it with olive oil or a fancy sauce. But whichever way you go, the result will be a soothing process using pantry staples resulting in the ultimate comfort dish. In other words, the perfect food for a quarantine.

For my full primer on making homemade pasta, see: Homemade pasta is cheap, easy, and delicious.