Thursday, October 20, 2016

Homemade Pasta

Fresh Homemade Pasta

1 ½ cups flour         ¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs 2 teaspoons of oil or water

Pasta is a unique food. It can be a nice addition to soup or salad, a yummy side dish, or even a main course. It comes in all shapes and sizes and can be stuffed with cheese, veggies, and meat. Pasta is readily available and usually reasonably priced. Which is nice when living on a budget, but it is also fairly cheap to make from scratch.

Please don’t run or scream. It really is very easy to make and can be fun. The true benefit , is once you try fresh homemade pasta, you will never look at a box of spaghetti the same. And I am not going to lie to you, this does take some practice and effort. If you have a  passion for cooking and patience this is definitely the project for you.
Homemade Pasta-Mixing dough

First, you need flour, eggs, salt, and water or oil. Most of you probably have those ingredients right now in your kitchens. Mix flour and salt in a bowl, make a well in the center and add eggs. Mix the flour into the eggs with a fork and blend well. This is where you can add oil or water if dough seems too dry. Possibly a little more flour if to moist, but keep in mind you will be kneading it and flour will be added then. Dough should be elastic enough to roll without tearing. Let the dough rest before kneading about 5-10 minutes.

Use a light dusting of flour on a flat surface and knead the dough for 6-8 minutes. After this I split the dough in 2, wrap each 1/2 in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.This helps to let the gluten relax and keep dough moist. Now it's time to roll.

You can roll either by hand (Yikes!) or use a pasta maker. If you do have to roll by hand be sure to get the dough as thin as possible. Paper thin, because when the pasta cooks it thickens quite a bit. After using your rolling pin, or even a bottle of wine to roll out the dough let it dry for 10 minutes. Grab up the edge and roll up over to the other edge. Using a sharp knife, cut your pasta into the shape you desire. ½ inch, ⅛ of an inch, any way you  prefer.

If you have a pasta maker, take ½ of the dough you split up and put it through the largest setting on the dial and repeat for each number one by one. Keep doing this until the dough is very thin. After dough is rolled out and thinned, put on the pasta cutting attachment. Here again, it is up to you what kind of pasta you like. My daughter and I chose fettuccine.

OK almost done! You will need to boil 4 quarts of water for every pound of cooked pasta. Be sure to have plenty of water so the pasta has room to cook properly and evenly. Also the starch that is released from pasta won’t reattach.  Stainless steel pan works best for me, but use the biggest best pot that you have.

I was taught to always put oil in the water to prevent noodles from sticking. However, this is true, but this also keeps seasoning and sauces from sticking to the pasta as well. So season the water with salt,(it intensifies the flavor of the pasta) and any other seasonings you like. Have a rapid boil going. Pasta cooks very quickly, about 3 minutes. But the thicker the noodle the longer it takes. Cook to your satisfaction. I enjoy mine a little al dente, or firm. Drain and serve immediately with favorite sauce, or rinse with cold water to stop cooking process and use pasta however you see fit. Either way you are going to be so happy with the results! Good luck and remember to have fun.

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