11 March 2008

Process Post - Homemade Pasta

This is something new that I've been thinking of trying out for a while. Not just the homemade pasta, but a type of post that is more process-based than recipe-based. It took me a while to find the right subject, but I think this is it. My plan is to focus on things that most people don't make at home on a regular basis, generally things that people buy. If there's anything you'd particularly like to see me tackle, please e-mail me or let me know in the comments.

So, on to the pasta. This is something that can be very intimidating, but you just have to trust me on it. You don't need any special equipment, you don't even need very much time. And believe me, now that I've made it myself, I'll never buy it.

What You'll Need:
2 cups of flour (give or take), plus extra for dusting
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
a very clean counter and/or cutting board
a very sharp knife
plastic wrap
a rolling pin
a large pot full of boiling salted water

On the counter or cutting board, mound the two cups of flour. My kitchen is very dry in the winter, so two cups is a little too much flour for me. If this is the case for you as well, don't stress about it. You can add water to the dough, it just means you'll have to knead a little bit longer. Make a well in the center of the flour.
Crack the eggs into a bowl or some other egg-containment device, just in case you run into a bad egg. Pour them into the center of the well of flour.

Pour the olive oil on top of the eggs, and sprinkle with the salt.

Using your hands or a fork, break the yolks of the eggs and begin stirring them, pushing the flour into the eggs. This is the most difficult part, in my opinion. It will eventually come together, just work slowly. Once it comes together, start to knead. You'll need for about ten minutes total, folding the ball of dough in half, turning it 90 degrees, and folding again. After about ten minutes, you should have a smooth, not at all sticky, homogenous dough.

Wrap the dough very tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. After it has rested, unwrap it and cut it into quarters. Using your hands, form each quarter into a rough square. Sprinkle with flour and place on a lightly floured board or counter top.

Roll out the dough, turning frequently, until it is either as thin as you would like it to be, or as thin as you can manage. If you have a pasta machine, you can use it.

Sprinkle the sheet lightly with flour and set aside. After each quarter is rolled out, sprinkle lightly with flour and stack it on top of the other sheets. Once all are finished, roll up the stack of sheets (you can see the roll in the next picture, behind and to the right of the cutting board). Using your very sharp knife, cut the pasta into noodles, as thick or thin as you want them to be. Shake them out to separate the noodles.

To cook the pasta, drop it into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes. This recipe makes enough for 4-6 first-course or side dish servings, or 2-3 main course servings.


kate said...

i've always been so intimidated by fresh pasta, but i really want to try it sometime. . . some day. . .

Deborah said...

I'm always impressed when people make pasta without a pasta maker. I've never tried making it before - for some reason it always scares me!

Mallika said...

You make it look so simple. That has to be a skill. Lovely blog!