Thursday, November 14, 2013

Homemade Pasta

I created a substantial wishlist of kitchen gadgets I wanted for our new kitchen. One of the items on this wishlist was a pasta maker. I am a carb-loving girl and I will never go on the Atkins diet or any other restrictive regimen that prevents me from eating bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, basically all the best stuff. I knew that if I got a pasta maker, I would put it to good use, so I bought one and I did.
Today's post is slightly different from my usual recipe entries because I don't have a step-by-step photo diary. Instead, once you scroll down a bit, you will see a video. I did my best to document my morning of pasta making and hopefully you enjoy it. And just a little tidbit of information, this was my first time making pasta from scratch and it was quite a successful venture so I'd like to say to anyone who feels intimidated: don't! It's pretty easy and the reward is delicious.

Ingredients [adapted from Scott Conant's recipe, yields 1½ lbs of dough]:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
4 whole eggs + 2 egg yolks (at room temperature)
1 teaspoon olive oil
pinch of salt

Let's briefly discuss semolina flour. Semolina flour is made from durum wheat (as you can see on my Bob's Red Mill package) which is lovely and yellow. It has a v. high gluten content. Gluten is a protein and it's what gives dough its elasticity and pliability. Essentially, it's what makes breads and pastas have a nice chew. The longer you knead the dough, the more you develop gluten. That's why recipe directions for softer cakes and cookies recommend that the dough be mixed just until the batter forms. Mixing aggressively would develop more gluten and result in a tough cake or cookie.
Basically, the recipe just involves mixing the ingredients together.
You'll need to knead the dough for about 10 minutes or until it looks smooth and pretty and the texture of the dough is soft but not sticky. And then you'll want to let it rest for at least 1 hour so that the gluten can rest and the dough can be rolled out. If you don't let it rest, the dough will just spring back and you'll never be able to get it to stay flattened.
And then, you can send it through your pasta maker. I bought mine through Sur La Table (while taking advantage of a 15% off coupon) and I quite like it. It's sturdy and works well, though, to be fair, I've only spent a little bit of time with this guy. If you don't have a machine and don't want to spend money on one, you could certainly roll your dough by hand, but having a machine definitely makes things a lot easier! Send it through each thickness setting a few times, folding the dough in half every once in a while. The pasta should be silky and soft.
Nice. Once you roll out your dough into sheets, flour them lightly and let them dry out a bit before forming the noodles. If the dough is too wet, it might stick to the cutters. If you're cutting them into noodles by hand and you're rolling up the dough, you'll end up smushing it to itself if you try and cut into it while the dough is too wet. On the flip side, you don't want the dough to be too dry, as it can crumble.
And once you form your noodles, you can let them dry. I "made" this rack by wedging a metal shelf into one of my island drawers. You could also use hangers, dowels set between two chairs, or a drying rack that is actually meant for pasta.
Or, you can sprinkle the noodles with a bit of semolina and let them dry on a flat surface.
Making pasta really isn't difficult, as you'll see in my video. It's actually kind of fun. And fresh pasta is delicious. I'm not saying it's better than dry pasta because it's not. It's just different. Fresh pasta is delicate and it has a texture that's better suited for more delicate applications - simply tossed with some butter and sage or formed into ravioli - whereas dry pasta is heartier and can be smothered in heavier sauces - like a meaty ragu or inside of a soup. Anyway, enjoy the video!

If you've never made your own pasta before, I hope I've encouraged you to try, or at least consider trying. I'm already thinking about making ravioli and lasagna and tagliatelle. YUM, man.
Cheers!

2 comments:

  1. Awesome Rach. I have to disagree with your statement though, Fresh pasta is WAYYY better than dry pasta in my humble opinion.. As long as you have the time, energy and more energy left for clean up afterwards. :) It is worth is though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's totally worth it! Actually, I might have a go at making some mushroom ravioli this weekend.

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