Sunday, June 26, 2011

Handmade Pasta [Zack]

Making pasta at home is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen because it's continues to be amazing to transform 3 simple ingredients into great pasta. Dinner guests always seem impressed, and most of the time they want to get their hands dirty (well, flour-y). Plus, people seem to think the food tastes better when they helped make it!

This method is relatively new to me. Before, I used to combine all of the ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor, add the eggs, and then add water and turn it on until the dough balled up. Then I’d take it out and knead it. This worked well, but after discovering this new method, I realized that the old one had too much water. You will get more al dente snap in this pasta and is MUCH easier to put through the pasta machine because it doesn't really stick to the rollers.

And because it doesn't stick, it's a much easier 1-man job if you don’t have a hot date around…


Start by adding the flour and salt to the food processor. Give it a quick whir to mix it. Then drop the eggs* in and close the lid.

*Note– peoples’ preferences vary on whether to use whole eggs or the yolks. I’ve done it both ways and have had great results with each. If you use the yolks, just save the whites for your omelet the next morning.

Mix the ingredients and open the lid and take a look. It should start to look like bread crumbs.

Add a less than 1 tsp of water and pulse if the dough hasn't made it to this stage below. Make sure to stop once the bread crumbs start to lump together, but before it turns into a big ball of dough. This will result in silky but firm dough.

Dump the crumbs out onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball until it feels smooth and elastic.

This should take 5 minutes and it will feel very firm for at least the first 3 minutes. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest. The wet ingredients will hydrate and distribute throughout the dough.

Twenty minutes before you want to roll out the pasta, take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Section into slightly larger-than-golf ball chunks and put the plastic wrap over the other pieces all that are not in use.

Start with the largest setting on your roller and put the dough through to flatten it out. It may not come out perfectly smooth the first time and will probably have some rips and holes in it. This is okay – we need to give it a little more exercise. Just fold it in half and put it back through the largest setting. After it comes out smoothly, you are ready for the next thinnest setting. Keep repeating and lightly dust with flour (if you think it’s going to stick) until you get to your desired thickness.

Now you can do a variety of things. You can make ravioli, you can roll it up like a cigar and cut it into very wide noodles for a strong meat sauce, use the spaghetti or fettuccine cutter, or make lasagna! You can even flavor the dough by adding roasted garlic or herbs and you can color it by adding spinach or tomato paste. Whatever you decide, chances are it will be great!

2 cups AP flour
3 eggs
1 tsp salt
possibly a touch of water

*You will have to experiment on the quantities a bit and use the pictures above as a guide. Egg sizes vary and your flour may be compacted differently, so it's better to learn to do this by sight.

No comments:

Post a Comment