Week 5 – An Op-Ed on Homemade Pasta

I wonder if a racecar driver ever finds himself in a workshop learning about how to rebuild a BMW S54 engine* and thinks “gee, this is probably good for me to know. It will make me a better driver knowing the intricate details involved, but I’m not the mechanic. And we use Ford in our cars anyway. Why am I wasting my time here?”

* Yes, that was googled. Did you think I actually know these things? I wasn’t in the south for that long!!

Braise Cooking School Pasta Class

That, ladies and gentleman is how I felt in last week’s pasta-making class. Was the end result better than what you get out of a box? Sure. Did I feel accomplished by turning flour and eggs into a pile of beautiful pappardelle pasta? I guess.

Handmade Pasta All Rolled Out
(I look like a Keebler Elf. That is all.)

Did I listen with rapt attention when Chef Dave taught us simple sauces for pasta dinners? Yep. Did I like making a mess of my workspace while I rolled and cut gnocchi? Of course. Did I rush home to put a pasta-making KitchenAid attachment on my Christmas list?


Chef Dave Making Pasta for Milwaukee Culinary School

Friends, for me, this is just too much work for an end result that (I’m sorry pasta lovers of the world!) tastes only marginally better than the boxed stuff.Handmade Pasta with Parm and Red Pepper Flakes

It’s rare that I eat straight up pasta. Noodles are more of a mechanism to get a sauce into my belly, so I don’t need angels to sing on high as I bite into my farfalle. And raviolis? They are never, ever, ever going to work for me. Even in class, two out of my three broke while being cooked. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I this is not my area of expertise. I hope you can, too.

What Handmade Raviolis Should Look LIke

All of that said, the homemade gnocchi were kind of life-changing. Just like the first time I tasted a scallop that was properly prepared, these little pillows of goodness were mouth-wateringly lovely. I still don’t think I will make these at home, but I will order themĀ at restaurants where I think the are made in house.

The Only Ingredients You Need To Make Gnocchi

We enjoyed the gnocchi seared and served with a brown butter sage sauce. Woo. So yummy. This sauce is what I tried to recreate for my fish a couple week’s back. You can have your pumpkin spice. Sage is the ingredient that screams “fall” to me. I may start using this sauce in place of all my marinades and condiments. French fries dipped in brown butter sage sauce?? Don’t mind if I do.

Handmade Gnocchi Dough

Enjoy the recipe and tell me your thoughts – is homemade pasta worth the effort?

Rolling Out Gnocchi in Pasta Making Cooking Class

Brown Butter Sage Sauce

This easy brown butter sage sauce is perfect for weeknight dinners and fancy meals! Use it on gnocchi, fish, poultry and vegetables.


  • 1/2lb butter
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • 1/4 cup sage (chiffonade)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add butter and cook until browned. (Butter will give a nutty smell when ready.)
2. Remove from heat, add lemon juice, sage and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt. Keep warm before serving.


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