Homemade Pasta

Next weekend is the Third Annual No Football Sunday Dinner.  I’ll explain that next weekend, but in short, it means that there are 10 people coming to my house for dinner so I need to start early on the planning and cooking.  The theme is Italian food this year so I spent today making pasta.  It’s kind of like playing in play-doh and way easier than making bread or pie crust.  I used to have a hand crank to flatten and cut the dough.  This was the debut of the pasta attachments for the KitchenAid.  Good stuff.

Pasta

There’s not much in the way of ingredients for pasta.  Essentially you’ve got a 2:1 ratio of eggs to cups of flour.  That’s it.  No salt, no oil, nothing.  You beat the eggs and put them in the middle of a pile a flour.  Use your hands to mix it up.  That part’s a mess.  Very sticky.  You mix in the flour a little at a time until it stops being sticky.  According to Marcella Hazan, from whom I will take any and all advice regarding Italian food, it’s the kneading and stretching that count.  She recommends that you knead the ball of pasta dough a full 8 minutes.  Gotta tell you that’s a really long time, but it’s kind of a Zen thing once you get into it.  At the end you have a beautiful, gold, perfectly smooth and silky ball of pasta dough.

When you’re ready to roll it out I really recommend a pasta crank, manual or on your mixer.  You can do it with a rolling pin, but you have to have mad skills.  You need the dough to be completely uniform.  You have flatten the dough a little at a time.  Again, according to Ms. Hazan, the rolling by degrees step (several passes on each thickness setting) is key to producing good pasta and it’s the step that is often skipped in commercially produced pasta.  I’m counting on that step being the difference between just passable pasta and really good pasta.  It certainly is the difference between pasta that takes 30 minutes to make and pasta you spend a whole afternoon on.

The good news about this is that once you’ve spent a whole afternoon on pasta making you don’t have to feel compelled to eat it all at once.  It dries perfectly well and can be stored for a few weeks.  Use an airtight container and store it in the cabinet.  I’m counting on this being a winning strategy also since the big dinner is still 6 days away.  I could have made my life easier if I’d remembered to twirl the freshly cut pasta into little nests, but I didn’t.  I’m going to have to store this in a long container or I’m going to have to break it up.  The pasta has to dry 24 hours so I can figure that out tomorrow. 

Good?  We’ll see.
Easy? Not at all.
Good for company? I can’t see why else you’d go to so much trouble.
Special shopping? Definitely not.

Homemade Pasta

Ingredients

4 eggs
2 C all-purpose flour, plus some as needed

Directions

Beat the eggs with a fork until well blended.
Make a well in the middle of the flour.
Pour the eggs into the well. Add flour into the eggs a little at a time.
Mix with a fork until the eggs aren’t runny.
Mix flour in a little at a time with your fingers, forming a dough.
Add flour as needed until the dough is no longer sticky.
Form a ball.
Knead for 8 minutes, or as long as it takes to make a silky smooth dough.
Cut the finished dough into 6-8 pieces.
Flatten the dough with a pasta press, beginning on the widest setting and rolling progressively thinner until you reach the desired thickness.
Roll at each level 2-3 times, folding the dough into thirds each time.
Cut the dough into ribbons and lay flat to dry.
Dry 24 hours if you plan to store it.

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One Response to “Homemade Pasta”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    oh, i’ve been wanting to make pasta. i can’t wait to see how it turns out!

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