Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pasta Perfection- Make it at Home

You only need three ingredients to make your own pasta and I bet you have them in your fridge and pantry: flour, eggs and salt.  That's it!  It's easy to make and well worth the effort.  You could use your food processor or your mixer but consider going the traditional route: use your hands, feel the dough, knead it, throw it around...

Gaby, my good friend from Italy, remembers when her mom made pasta back in the day.  She had pasta drying flat on all the beds! Must have been industrial quantities of the good stuff...

Make about 1 1/2 lbs of pasta.

400     gr Italian typo 00 flour or all-purpose flour
4         large eggs, plus 3 egg yolks
1/2      tsp salt

Mound the flour into a hill on your work surface.  Create a crater in the middle.  Break the eggs into the crater and add the salt.  Using the tips of your fingers, work the eggs into the flour from the outer walls inward.  Continue mixing to form a dough.  Lightly flour your work surface, shape the dough into a ball, and knead it until it is smooth and silky, adding more flour if the dough gets sticky.  This will take about 20 minutes.  Divide the dough in half, cover and let rest for approximately 30 minutes.

To make in the Kitchenaid mixer:  place the flour, salt and eggs in the bowl, using the kneading hook.  On low, mix until the ingredients are combined, about two minutes.  Then increase the speed to 3 and knead until a ball is formed and "crawling" up the hook, this may take about 15 minutes.  Remove from the bowl, cover and set aside for approximately 30 minutes.  **sometimes the dough has trouble coming together.  In that case, I remove it from the bowl and finish kneading it by hand.

Fold pasta in three at the widest setting
Continue rolling and adjusting the settings
Roll each half into a ball and press into a flat disk.  Cover and refrigerate one hour.  Cut into four pieces and roll through a pasta machine, starting at the "1" (widest) setting.  Fold in half and pass through again.  Dust with flour if it seems sticky.  Keep rolling and increasing the numbers until you reach the desired thinness.  You can cut these thin sheets into the length you wish for your cut pasta.

Top- fettucine drying
Bottom- spinach pasta drying a few
 minutes before cutting
Place on a flour dusted cloth to rest for a few minutes (no more than fifteen) before passing through a pasta cutter to make fettucine or other flat noodles.  The cut noodles should be dusted with flour, separated and allowed to dry flat on a flour dusted clean cloth or on a pasta rack.  KitchenAid has a great roller attachment that works really well.  Cut into thin strips or make ravioli.  You can dry the pasta strips on a pasta rack.
Cutting the fettucine

To cook, boil a generous quantity of water and add 2 tbsp of salt to the boiling water.  Add the pasta and boil for approximately three minutes, if its fresh and not dried, or a little longer if it is dried.  The pasta will come to the surface when it's cooked.  Keep an eye on it - al dente, "a little bite" should do it.

Spinach pasta: add about 10 oz  of steamed fresh spinach to the pasta dough and increase the amount of flour to a total of 550 gr.  Squeeze out as much excess water as possible.  The dough should not be sticky.  Let it rest, covered, for about an hour.

No comments:

Post a Comment