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Culinary Details:
The Apartment DVD, Vintage Tennis Racket, Gnocchi Board

When you watch a Billy Wilder movie, expect to be charmed. From Some Like It Hot to Sabrina to Sunset Boulevard, Wilder has had a major impact on film and romantic comedies. One movie by Wilder in particular that is entertaining to watch is The Apartment, starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. In this film, C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) tries to rise up in his company by letting his bosses use his apartment for trysts. Of course, this gets complicated when one of the executive’s mistresses (Shirley MacLaine) is someone he himself is romantically interested in. The Apartment won five Oscars – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, Story, and Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Film Editing.

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In one scene during the film, C.C. Baxter cooks spaghetti for dinner with MacLaine’s character Fran. Instead of using a colander, he uses a tennis racket. I thought this was a unique addition to the movie and it shows off Baxter’s personality. He’s excited to be around Fran, which is demonstrated as he sings while he cooks and in his carefree cooking style. Fran pops her head into the kitchen and exclaims, “Hey you’re pretty good with that racket.” To this, C.C. responds, “You should see my backhand. Wait until you see me serve the meatballs!”

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Inspired by this cute scene, I made a variety of homemade pasta. I used the same egg yolk dough for each type of pasta and experimented with different shapes. You can cut spaghetti with a knife or a pasta roller, or use a gnocchi board to roll the pasta into an oval with texture. Cut the pasta into varying widths to create fettuccine and long noodles with zig-zag edges. The result of homemade pasta is chewy and fresh with a much better mouthfeel than dried store-bought pasta. All you have to do once the pasta is cut is put it into boiling water for a couple of minutes – very simple and straightforward. Just make sure not to over-boil – fresh pasta doesn’t require as long of a cook time as dry noodles. Then, strain with a tennis racket! This is much more fun than using a colander, and it’s sure to impress any guests. Just be careful when backhanding the meatballs!

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Apt 2

Homemade Pasta

  • Servings: 4-6 servings
  • Print

INGREDIENTS

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons tipo 00 flour
7 tablespoons durum (semolina) flour
9 egg yolks
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons water, and more as needed

METHOD

1. On a clean surface, mix the tipo 00 and durum flours together and make a well in the center. Add egg yolks, oil, and water one at a time, mixing well with your hands. The should come together after a few minutes of mixing. Add more water if needed to combine the dough thoroughly.

2. On a lightly floured surface (I used durum flour), knead the dough until it is smooth, about 5-6 minutes. When you stretch the dough it should pull back into place.

3. Flatten the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for 30 minutes. 

4. When you’re ready to make the pasta, cut the dough into quarters. This will be more manageable when rolling it out and cutting it. Roll out each piece until it is thinner. Or, you can make it thicker. This step really depends on your preferences and what type of pasta you’re trying to make.

5. Cut the pasta into long thin strips or roll it into thick ovals – this is where you can have fun with it. 

6. Cook the pasta right away in salted boiling water, or dust with flour, cover it, and refrigerate. If you make too much pasta and want to save some, place the pasta in a plastic bag in a single layer and freeze for a month. Whenever you’re ready to use it simply place it in boiling water. 

© A Dash of Cinema

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Food Images by Lauren Jessen; Film Stills of The Apartment from Mirisch Corporation