Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pasta Making Basics

Making fresh pasta is fun! I love to use the noodles in soup. So yummy! I was surprised how easy it was to make pasta the first time I did. You don't need a pasta machine to make fresh noodles.

Fresh Pasta

2 cups flour
4 large eggs

1) On a clean work surface, mound flour and make a well in the middle. Crack eggs into the well.
2) Beat eggs with a fork until smooth, then begin to work flour into eggs with a fork.
3) Use a bench scraper to work in the rest of the flour. If you don't have a bench scraper, use one of those annoying fake credit you get in the mail. Make sure it is good and clean first.

4) Once dough is incorporated well, work the dough with hands to form a rounded mass for kneading. Knead about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. If dough is sticky, add more flour.
5) Cover dough with a bowl and let rest 1 1/2 hours. This is very important. The dough needs to relax to be workable. I learned this the hard way. It really acts like a rubber band, shrinking right up, if it is not rested.

6) Divide dough into quarters. Working with one quarter at a time, roll dough into a very thin circle, about 1/16 of an inch. Let rest if it pulls back.

7) Lightly fold sheets one at a time into thirds. Cut with a knife or a pizza wheel into desired thickness. For fettuccine, about 1/4 inch strips works well.
If you have a pasta machine, follow the manufacturer's directions. I rolled my dough to a 5, then used the fettuccine cutter.

At this point you can do several things: Hang the noodles on a rack to dry or prepare them for immediate use or freezing. If you are going to use or freeze the noodles, after you finish with each batch mix the noodle gently in a large bowl with enough flour to keep them from sicking together. You will use lots of flour here. Use flour each time you add new noodles to the bowl. This will keep them from turning into a blob.
You are done! To cook, boil noodles (at a full rolling boil) for approximately 4 minutes stirring often. Toss with your favorite sauce and enjoy!


bec said...

Did anyone else think "funnel cake" when they saw that last picture? :) Mmm... I can't wait to try making pasta myself. It looks like fun, and my husband will love me for it!

Hannah said...

We love making homemade pasta- had the same problem with learning to let it rest. We just couldn't understand why it took like an hour to knead it! :) The flour in a bowl tip will be helpful.