Ah, my beloved angel-hair pasta (aka Capellini D'Angelo). If you ever want a pasta dish that is filling without being too heavy, angel-hair pasta should be your choice. It's just like regular, traditional, long pasta except that it's thin. Really thin. So thin that, if you had lots of time and patience, you could probably knit something out of it. It's almost like thread.
So why would you want to bother with such a thin pasta? Because you can eat a pound of it and not be full. It's a large meal without the "ugh, why did I eat so much?" sensation. That makes it easier to digest. Those of us out there with digestive disorders (such as myself) will find this pasta a godsend (another reason why it's named after part of an angel? Could be! Just remember, fellow Crohnies, to be careful what you serve with the pasta. Make sure it's safe to digest!).
Keep in mind that because it's so thin it will not absorb the sauce you will want to drench it in. To that end, it should be served with light oil (or oil & lemon dressings) rather than a traditional meat sauce. The pasta just does not have the structure to hold up against a rugged sauce. Personally I like adding lots of meat to the sauce and even sprinkling some parmesan cheese over it, but everyone has their own preference. Just keep in mind that you're not simply making dinner here, you're making a culinary delight to please the Heavens. Why else do you think it's called angel-hair?
Its thinness also means that it cooks faster than your more traditional pastas. Take heed during preparation so that you don't scald the pasta. If you do scald it you'll wind up with a brown, crunchy mess and I won't be held responsible for that.
So where did this miracle pasta come from? Well, we just don't know. There's lots of debate about that topic, and if you should happen to know the answer to this please /msg me about it.
You can buy angel-hair pasta in your local supermarket or health-food store, but if you are the adventurous type and want to make your own from scratch, I suggest getting a pasta maker. Most pasta makers come with the appropriate attachments and accessories for slicing the pasta into thin slips. Basically, the cutting attachments on the machine work the same as the machine's rolling mechanism: feed the dough through and turn the hand crank, and out spit the noodles. You can either hang the noodles on a drying rack or spread them out on the tablecloth to allow them to dry and set.
But where does this aforementioned dough come from? And how does it become actual noodles? Sneff has a spectacular recipe on the pasta node and he's given me permission to include it here. Thanks Sneff!
Preparation: Place the flour on a kitchen bench, make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into the center. Add the salt and oil, and using a fork, whisk together until the dough comes together. You may need more flour because not all eggs are the same size. Or you could do as I do, and throw the whole lot into a food processor. Just make sure that you let the dough rest for an hour or so, to let the gluten that you just pulverized to relax a bit and settle down (otherwise, tough pasta).
If you have a pasta machine, then use the instructions that came with it, otherwise, check out how to roll out fresh pasta.
Remember that fresh pasta not only tastes better, it only takes 2-3 minutes to cook.
Sneff also says: "When angel hair is rolled out and run through the cutters, it can stick very badly before you cook it. In a commercial restaurant we often roll out 60 portions, form it into small balls, and then freeze them. With freshly made thin pasta it is ESSENTIAL that you use HEAPS of extra flour - even if it is only sitting for 5 minutes before cooking. That is all it can take for it to set into a lumpy mess."
Some info culled from http://www.pastacanada.com/english/pastafacts/pastafacts.cfm and http://www.digsmagazine.com/nourish/nourish_noodles.htm. Special thanks to Sneff for his advice, information, and recipe!