Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do-it Yourself Pasta

I like pasta, but it is not something I get very excited about. I don't think I have ever ordered it at a restaurant.

However, I love eating fresh home-made pasta. The taste does not compare to the packaged stuff you buy at the store, even the good varieties. The good news is that it is easy to make, takes few ingredients, and you don't have to have any special kitchen equipment.

My three year old likes to help me prepare the pasta; that's how easy it is. Here is a good basic recipe:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
(You may substitute water for the milk, but I like the taste of milk in the noodles.)

1.In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the beaten egg, milk, and butter. Knead dough until smooth, about 5 minutes. Let rest in a covered bowl for 10 minutes. (I usually complete this step in my KitchenAid so I can let it do all the kneading for me. It makes it much easier.)

2.On a floured surface, roll out to 1/8 or 1/4 inch thickness (it is said that your backside should work up a sweat as you roll it out; don't worry if you find that this is the case for you). Cut into desired lengths and shapes. I don't have any special pasta tools, so I usually just use a pizza cutter. It works just fine.

(here is my pasta, rolled out, cut, and drying a little before I cook it.)

3.Allow to air dry before cooking. A traditional method for this is to suspend a broom handle over the backs of two chairs and hang the noodles on that, but I usually just let them sit on my cutting board. I don't worry if they dry all the way before cooking, as I haven't noticed a difference. If you are storing them, though, you must let them dry all the way or they will stick together. These freeze very well. It is nice to make a large batch and put some away for use later in soups or stews.

4.To cook fresh pasta, in a large pot with boiling salted water cook until al dente. Remember that fresh noodles cook much faster than the packaged, dried kind.

Special tip: It is easy to make ravioli once you have rolled out the pasta dough. Simply cut circles out using a glass or biscuit cutter, put some filling in the middle of the circle, fold in half over the filling, and crimp the edges with a fork. You can fill your ravioli with cheese, meat, or a mixture of cheeses, meats, or vegetables such as spinach.

You may also use spinach or other vegetables to color your pasta. See HERE for some good ideas and recipes. Another option would be to use whole wheat flour in place of some or all of the all-purpose flour.

1 comment:

  1. Elise,
    I love to make homemade pasta as well, but I have a pasta roller. I usually make it for homemade lasagne. But that is me. I cannot wait to try your recipe as it is different than mine.