Build a pasta measuring tool for the kitchen and your spaghetti shortages or surpluses will be ancient history.
OK, we'll admit it . . . this particular kitchen gadget isn't a necessity by any stretch of the imagination. But we still think it's valuable enough to make some folks want to knock out a few samples and give them to pasta-eating friends as gifts.
To tackle the project, you'll need a scrap of wood measuring 3/4 inches by 3-1/2 inches by 10 inches, a series of hole saws (or an expansive bit that can cut openings up to 2-1/2 inches in diameter), a ruler, and a coping saw. First, sketch the general shape of the wooden wand onto your slab, using our photo as a guide, then cut along that mark—with the coping saw—to form a teardrop-shaped billet.
Next, scribe a longitudinal line down the center of this board, and, starting at the narrow end, measure off four points—at distances of 1-1/2 inches, 3-1/8 inches, 5-7/16 inches, and 8-1/4 inches—along the line. By drilling 7/8 inch, 1-1/2 inch, 2-1/4 inch, and 2-1/2 inch openings successively at these points, you can form a hand-held gauge similar to the one pictured.
To finish it up, round the utensil's sharp edges with some coarse sandpaper, smooth the grain further with fine-grit paper, and dress the wood with vegetable oil.
And using the device is easier than threading a needle: All you do is grab a handful of spaghetti strands and slip them through one of the holes. The size of the opening, of course, determines the number of servings (or the size of a portion). After a little trial-and-error experimentation, you can match the hole choices to your family's appetite . . . or simply resize the bores on a fresh blank to suit your needs.
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