Last weekend I decided to make a special dinner - homemade pasta! I have made it a couple of times before and we always enjoy it. There is nothing quite like the texture and flavor of homemade pasta.
I always think it's going to be hard to make fresh pasta, but it's really not. It's just flour and eggs and a little water. You can do most of your kneading in a food processor or a stand up mixer. I make a basic pasta with the following ingredients.
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
All you do is place all the ingredients in the mixer bowl and mix at Speed 2 for 30 seconds using the flat beater.
Swap out the flat beater for the dough hook. Knead at Speed 2 for 2 minutes.
Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1 to 2 minutes, folding the past over each time.
Let dough rest for 20 minutes to 2 hours.
Divide dough into 6 pieces and processing using your pasta machine or attachment.
I personally have the KitchenAid KPRA Pasta Roller Attachment. It might be a bit pricey, but I love it. It comes with one pasta roller and two pasta cutters - one for angel hair pasta and one for fettuccine. It's a great addition to my appliances. But I do admit it's a pricey commitment. If that is too expensive for you all you need to do is go to Amazon and they have a large collection of hand crank pasta rollers starting from about $30 to about $70. I would go for the best one you can afford at the time. If you aren't quite sure you are going to make pasta often, you might go with a lower priced model and if you become a pasta wizard you can always upgrade. I will say that since I only make pasta two or three times a year, I would probably go with a mid-priced machine. I have used them in cooking class and they work wonderfully.
Once you have your machine you flatten dough and roll the pasta through the maching at the 1 setting, fold it then run it through again at the next setting. Starting at 1 you move up to the thickness you want. I was making fettuccine so I went to 6. You only fold it the first time. When you have reached the desired thickness hang your pasta on a pasta rack while you work on the next piece. You really do need one of these and they are not that expensive. Mine was $13.50.
Now it's time to cut the pasta. I used my fettuccine pasta attachment, but you can also use a pasta cutter, which costs about $20.00. Cut your pasta and you are ready to go!
The next thing you need to think about is sauce. This is always a hard part for me. I want something very simple, but tasty. I choose two sauces from my favorite pasta book, The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles by Cooks Illustrated. This is an amazing book. I will write more about this next time.
I made a salmon cream sauce and a simple olive oil, fresh tomato and summer squash sauce. Delicious! I will say, though, that the olive oil sauce was my favorite since it let the pasta be the star in the dish.
So, that's my little pasta making adventure. All together it took me about an hour to make pasta, but it's really worth it. There is a huge difference between store bought and fresh so I really recommend it. It's a bit pricey to start out, but once you have the equipment, you will love making pasta.