When Julie and Stephanie visited me from Black Forest Academy, they chose the menu…and of course it included fresh, homemade pasta! There’s just no comparison between even the best, store-bought dry pasta and fresh, homemade pasta. While it’s very easy to make…I always say it’s still easier to open a box! But when you have a few minutes…or you’re out of boxed pasta…or, like my Good Husband, you just have a hankerin’ for light, luscious, homemade pasta…here’s what you need:

Just flour, eggs, and salt . The old-fashioned way to make pasta would be to knead it by hand…but for many years I’ve made it in a food processor and find it much easier and quicker. (Update in 2011…I almost always make it by hand these days…easier to wash out a bowl than my processor. So that will be an updated blog someday.)

A note about flour…I’ve used both semolina and all-purpose flour for homemade pasta. My conclusion is that all-purpose is easier to work with and we like the pasta equally well as that made with semolina. So the choice is yours…but I’ll stay with all-purpose flour.

When making pasta, I usually calculate how much to make by counting one egg and 3/4 C. flour per adult. However, given the differences in the sizes of eggs–I’ve found “L” is not a uniform size around the world!–I usually add one less measurement of flour in the batch. So, with Stephanie, Julie, Larry and I, we needed a total of four eggs. However, I  only added three 3/4 C. measurements of flour…then, if the mixture seems too wet, I can always add more flour. Of course if it’s too dry, you can add a few drops of water.

 

If you’re serving fresh pasta as a side dish–as with an American meal–calculating one egg per adult will make far too much pasta. Also, if you’re making a one-dish pasta meal, where meat and veggies are sautèed and stirred into the pasta, you should plan on making less pasta. If I were making Toni’s Chicken Marsala with Fresh Pasta (p. 133 in O Taste & See Some More) or Pasta with Sautèed Vegetables (p. 62 in Around Our Table), I would only use 2-3 eggs for 4 people, since the other ingredients increase the overall amount.

Since we were serving the pasta and pesto as a first course (primo) we decided to use 4 eggs, and broke them into the food processor bowl. I love how Larry captured this egg falling into the processor!

Next we added the flour and a pinch of salt. I’m a stickler for spooning the flour into the measuring cup, instead of scooping it out. If you’re a “scooper” you’ll need to figure on adding a bit less flour since scooping packs the flour into the cup and you end up with more flour than you would with the spooning technique. This is a 3/4 C. measuring cup…and I added three of these to the four eggs.

A pinch of salt is added and then we’re ready to process it. At first the mixture will be quite crumbly…but as you continue to process it, the mixture will form a ball and roll around the edge of the bowl. Here’s the “view from the top” when it’s ready:

Some people still roll the pasta by hand, with a rolling pin. But for 20 years I’ve used an Imperia pasta roller, which is a quicker and easier.

Cheaper ones are on the market, but if you decide to invest in one, I would recommend one that’s heavy enough to stay attached to your counter top. With ours attached, next I adjusted the rollers to be as far apart as possible.

Now, we’re ready to roll! The first step is to press the dough with the heel of your hand to flatten it.

Then it needs to be cut into manageable-sized pieces. With 4 eggs, I cut it into 4 pieces.

Each piece is then pressed even flatter onto a well-floured board before rolling it through the pasta roller. If it doesn’t come through the rollers nice and smooth, we just keep folding the dough over, dusting it with flour and re-rolling it until the pieces are lusciously smooth.

We readjust the knob so that the rollers are set for the next to the thinnest setting…and roll everything again. As the pasta is pressed thinner, it also gets longer and needs to be cut to a length that’s manageable for eating.

Now we’re ready for the fun part–we attach the cutter to the machine and cut the sheets of pasta into fettuccine, which literally means “little ribbons”. In some parts of Italy these are called tagliatelle, which comes from the word “tagliare” or “to cut”.

We toss the fettuccine in some flour to keep the cut edges from sticking together…

…and spread it out on the dish towel so it doesn’t stick together…

Meanwhile, we’ve heated a large pot of boiling, salted water. No need to lay out the pieces of fettuccine on a drying rack. I tried it once to see if there was an advantage but there really wasn’t. I usually make the pasta just before we cook it…not too far in advance or I run the risk of it sticking together. The pasta is gently dropped into the boiling water…and after it comes to a boil, I test a small piece. It’s usually done within one minute!

Once it’s drained, I toss it back into the hot, empty pot and pour the sauce or pesto over it and gently coat the pasta with the pesto.

I’m a “stickler” for warm food and have pre-heated the pasta bowls in the warm oven.

We and the girls were definitely ready to sit down and enjoy our first course together…along with the crusty bread we made. But we’ll save the bread making for our next blog!

Buon appetito! Thanks for the memories, Steph and Julie!

 

Fresh Pasta

Yield: Enough pasta for 2-3 adults

Fresh Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 C. (185 g) flour
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of water if needed

Instructions

  1. Combine eggs, flour and salt in a food processor or large bowl. Combine until mixture forms a ball. If it stays crumbly, add a little water.
  2. Divide the dough into four pieces and roll through a pasta roller on the widest setting. If you've combined the ingredients by hand, you may need to roll it through several times until the dough is smooth.
  3. Once the sheets of dough are smooth, run them through the pasta roller on the second thinnest setting. Now the pasta is ready to cut and cook. For lasagna, cut the sheets of dough into manageable size pieces. For fettuccine cut into thin strips.
  4. Cook in boiling, salted water for 1-2 minutes only.
http://ciaofromdebbie.com/blog/step-by-step-cooking/fresh-pasta/

The recipe for Fresh Pasta is on page 89 of O Taste & See Some More!

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