01 February 2007
it is not actually necessary to drape the noodles over wooden dowels, but i recently experienced the huge disappointment of failing to adequately separate the pasta before cooking it. we had made a beautiful batch of near-perfect spinach raviolis. i piled them all on a plate, and let them sit for an hour or so. we were having company, and i was so proud of us for getting all the work out of the way before brooke and dominica arrived. when we went to put the raviolis into the boiling water, we discovered that they had all melded together into one big mass of gooey pasta dough and sloppy spinach/ricotta filling. we managed to salvage enough of them to make a modest meal, but they weren't very pretty. i learned my lesson: just because the dough seems firm and dry when you are making it, it won't stay that way. mark bittman suggests the dowels, and i knew it would satisfy my old-world, rustic predilections, so, of course, i tried it. as you may have noticed, i find them to be quite beautiful.