The Italian and I graduated into real Italian cooking territory the other day when we made HOMEMADE pasta! It was so much fun to make and was facilitated by the gift of a pasta maker by a very good friend of ours, whose culinary delights have already been featured on this blog (here and here.)
The pasta maker is a fascinating machine – you just feed a wad of dough into it and watch as it flattens out right in front of your eyes into a thin sheet. We have one of the hand-crank models that clamp onto your table or counter top with a vice. Our pasta maker has the capability to make three different types of pasta – tagliatelle (long, flat, ribbon-shaped), spaghetti, or flat sheets for ravioli. For our first pasta-making escapade we chose to do tagliatelle.
The pasta dough was fairly simple to make, and just required a bit of kneading. Once that was complete we fed the dough through the machine several times, decreasing the setting each time until we got a very thin, long sheet. Then we fed that sheet through the machine on the tagliatelle setting and got perfect ribbon-like strips! Those without a pasta machine can improvise by using a rolling pin to get the dough as absolutely thin as possible and then cut it by hand into the desired shape.
One thing to keep in mind is while the cut pasta is drying they should not touch each other or they will stick together and form a big pasta lump. Either hang them to dry on the back of a chair or a broom stick or sprinkle flour between the layers so they don’t stick.
We served our tagliatelle with a very simple tomato sauce so as not to overwhelm the flavour of the fresh pasta. It turned out deliciously!
Basic pasta dough
- 1 2/3 cups Italian flour
- 2 medium or large eggs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- A pinch of sea salt
- Sift the flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the center with your fist.
- Break the eggs into the well and add the oil and a pinch of salt to the well.
- Gradually mix the egg mixture into the flour using the fingers of one hand, bringing the ingredients together into a firm dough. If the dough feels too dry, add a few drops of water; if it’s too wet, add a little more flour.
- Knead the pasta until smooth, 2 to 5 minutes. Lightly massage it with a hint of olive oil,
- Put the dough into a plastic food bag, and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. The pasta will be much more elastic after resting.
- Feed dough into the pasta machine until desired thinness/shape is achieved.
- Note: Fresh, homemade pasta cooks very quickly in boiling water, only needs about 3 minutes!