Friday, August 20, 2010

Pasta... It's So Easy!

Okay, I have a secret to share with you... it's about pasta. Guess what? Making your own is simple. So simple, it's kinda silly. Really. I promise.

What I don't understand is, there has been a homemade bread movement for a while. People all over, including myself, have learned it isn't so tough. It takes a bit of practice, but the pay off of that aromatic loaf of fresh warm bread to eat is worth it. Then I learned how to make yogurt... even easier! Mozzarella? kinda fun to pull. But, why are people so intimidated by pasta? My Mom made pasta for chicken noodle soup once. That was it. I remember it was so yummy, but I don't think she ever attempted it again. I on the other hand have fallen in love with home made pasta. The box stuff just doesn't compare!

The ingredients? 3... I bet you have them right now. 2 c. Flour? Check. 2 Eggs? Check. Um... a splash or two of water? Check. Now flour is up to you. AP will work fine, but you can get as fancy shmancy as you want. Semolina is nice... so is Italian 00 flour, or experiment with wheat or other stuff.

Put the first two in a food processor for easy pulsing, or make a well of flour on your counter and drop your eggs in the middle. Pulse until you get a fine meal. Then add a Tbsp of water and pulse again. It should clump a little and be climbing the sides of your bowl. Take a bit between your fingers and it should hold form, but not be sticky. Go slowly. For the counter method, incorporate slowly then add water till it all comes together.

Grab a clump about the size of an egg. Flatten it a bit to make it easier to feed into the press. If you are using a rolling pin work with 1/4 of the dough. Keep the rest of the dough covered tightly so it won't dry out. I feed it through, fold then again about 5-6 times. Then I change the dial so it will start rolling thinner. One go through till it reaches the thickness you want is fine. For tonight I went for the thinnest setting, but if I was making filled pasta (ravioli, tortelinni, etc. ) I would use a thicker setting.

Okay, so far so good? Now is the hardest part. Choose your pasta! I roll mine with an Imperia press, but a roller and knife will work, too. My MIL has her Kitchen Aid attachment which we have used in the past. Our family really likes fettuccine size noodles, but let your imagination...or stomach decide.
Racks are convenient for drying the pasta, but not essential. You can cut then dry the pasta and keep it in an airtight container for a couple of days. Remember this stuff is devoid of preservatives so it has a shorter shelf life. I like to hang mine as I finish rolling the rest and make sauce. This helps it not clump, but dusting with extra flour will work too. You can also use a clothes drying rack... or in a pinch, plastic (and washed) laundry hangers. Cool, huh?

Then add your creation to your salted boiling water. 3 minutes is all it takes to cook! Easy.
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