Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fresh Pasta - Yum!

I bought a pasta machine on Sunday, and immediately put it to good use. I have watched my mum make fresh pasta many times, but my job was usually to make a filling and then make the ravioli with it. So it is good fun now to make my own pasta. It is easy, cheap, and so so delicious.

I have seen many variations of pasta recipes... special types of flour, half flour - half semolina, so this one here is just what I find works for me. If you have a different way of making pasta, please let me know, I am happy to road test other ways!

300g plain flour (nothing fancy, just the usual stuff you have in the cupboard)
30g semolina
10ml oil
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
a pinch of salt
Sift the flour, semolina and salt directly onto your worktop. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into the well. Add the oil. Using your fingers, break the yolks and then work the eggs and oil into the flour. As the mix starts to come together, use your whole hand to scrunch the dough together. Once it has formed a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and pop into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Secure your pasta machine to the bench. Remove the pasta dough from the fridge and break into 3 or 4 pieces. Flatten out a little into a square shape. Starting with the widest setting on the machine, pass the dough through. The first few times the dough will be quite scruffy around the edges, so fold in half, turn 90 degrees and put through the machine rough edge first. Repeat this step until the edges are all coming out fairly square. (If you don't have a pasta machine, you can roll it by hand, however it can be difficult to get it thin enough. I got my pasta machine from House for only $39.95!)

Change the setting to the next width down, run the pasta through twice, then change the setting down again. Dust with a little flour if it is becoming sticky. Continue with this pattern of running the pasta twice through each setting until it has run through the thinnest setting. The pasta will have stretched to be much longer than first anticipated! Repeat for the rest of the dough.

I was making rough-cut pasta, so I then cut the pasta by hand. You could run it through the cutters on your pasta machine if you want more uniform pieces, but I quite like the fact that mine are all different size and shapes... it proves that it is home made!!
Hang the cut pasta over a coat hanger/rolling pin/broom handle if you are not cooking it immediately after cutting, otherwise it will stick together when you cook it.

Cook in plenty of well salted boiling water for about 2 minutes, and then stir through your favourite sauce and marvel at how easy it was to make!

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