02 Sep How To Make Your Own Pasta
How To Make Your Own Pasta
2 September 2020
PREP. TIME: 30 min
The following instructions are for making your own egg pasta at home - mixing by hand and rolling out using a hand cranked pasta machine.
TIP: The amount of flour needed to make a perfect dough depends on many things: the altitude, the humidity, the temperature of the room, the temperature of your hands and the size of the eggs. Always start with a little less flour that the recipe calls for. Knead the dough throughly, adding only a small amount of flour at a time. Keep in mind that you can always add flour but you cannot take any away.
For making of Pasta Verdi or Green Pasta - see the variation below.
As a general, rule of thumb - for 100g of unbleached, organic, all purpose flour - allow 1 whole egg and a pinch of salt - enough for 1 - 2 serves.
Refer to individual recipes for other proportions of flour and eggs and other ingredients such as spinach or salt.
equipment for making pasta by hand
A large wooden board or table is ideal (Marble can be too cold for pasta making)
A fork for mixing
A stiff plastic or metal dough scraper to clean the board
A hand - cranked pasta machine
A scalloped pastry wheel to cut the pasta into desired shapes or lengths
Step 1 - Mix
Mound the flour on a large wooden board or other clean flat surface.
With you fingers make a round well in the centre of the flour.
Break the eggs into the well
Stir the eggs thoroughly with a fork, then gradually draw the flour, starting with the inside walls of the well, into the eggs, mixing it with the fork until a soft paste begins to form.
If you are making a green pasta dough using spinach you must make sure that the spinach is thoroughly drained before incorporating it with the flour and eggs.
Step 2 - Knead
Use the dough scraper to push all the remaining flour to one side of the board (if you have a flour sifter, sift the flour clean).
Scrape off and discard the bits and pieces of dough attached to the board.
Add some of the flour you have pushed aside to the dough and begin kneading gently
As you keep incorporating more flour, the dough will become firmer and your kneading will need to be more energetic. Do not add too much flour, you may not need it all.
Once the dough is soft and manageable, clean the board and wash your hands.
Flour the work surface lightly and begin to knead the dough pushing it away from you with the palms of your hands and then folding half of the dough back over itself. As you knead, keep turning the dough: push, fold over and turn. Knead the dough for 8 - 10 minutes, adding a bit more flour if it sticks to the board and your hands.
Press one finger into the centre of the dough. If it comes out barely moist , the dough is ready to be rolled out.
If the dough is quite sticky, knead it a bit longer, adding more flour.
When it is ready the dough will be compact, pliable, smooth, and moist.
If you are using a pasta machine the dough does not need to rest - it can be used immediately.
Step 3 - Rolling out Pasta with a hand-cranked pasta machine.
Set the rollers of the pasta machine at their widest opening - this is usually setting 1.
Cut off a piece of dough about the size of a large egg and flatten it under the palm of your hand.
Keep the rest of the dough wrapped in plastic wrap or covered with a clean tea towel as you work.
Lightly sprinkle some flour into the opening of the machine.
Dust the flattened piece of dough lightly with flour and run it once through the machine.
Fold the dough in half, pressing down on it with your finger tips, and run it through the machine again. Repeat this step 4 - 5 times, dusting the dough lightly with the flour as needed until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky; the dough will become firmer as the machine is kneading the dough. Do not skimp on this step, or as you thin the pasta it may stick to the rollers.
Cut off another piece of dough the same size as the first piece and repeat as above. Do the same for the remaining dough until all of the dough has been passed through the machine on Setting 1 several times.
Arrange each piece of rolled dough on a clean tea towel and keep covered.
Adjust the rollers to the next setting (usually setting 2 i.e the 2nd widest setting) and run the pieces of dough through once only. Do not fold the dough again. Pass all the pasta through this setting just once.
Adjust the rollers to the next setting and run the pasta sheets through the rollers once only.
Continue to adjust the rollers, each time to a narrower setting and roll the pasta through the machine once for each setting until the dough reaches its desired thinness.
As the pasta thins, the sheets will become longer. You can cut them to a more manageable length if you need to. Keep the rolled pasta sheets covered as you work.
Generally - the thinner the pasta - the more delectable the dish. I always try to roll out at least to setting 7 or 8. Pasta sheets this thin will transform a lasagne.
If you are making stuffed pasta, cut and stuff each piece of dough immediately, before rolling out another piece.
For ribbon noodles, roll out the remaining dough and allow the sheets to dry a little while uncovered before cutting them into noodles. Depending on the ventilation and temperature of the room - 10 minutes should be enough. You can turn the pasta sheets over from time to time. The pasta is ready to cut when it is still pliant enough not to crack when cut. If it is too soft - the strands will adhere to each other.
A ravioli roller or pastry wheel is the ideal implement with which to cut the pasta but a sharp knife will also do the trick. The fluted blade of the roller or wheel gives the most attractive results
Green Pasta / Pasta Verdi
If using thawed frozen spinach, cook it in a covered pan with 1/4 teaspoon salt until it is tender and loses its raw taste.
If using fresh, wash it and cook in a dry pan until it collapses.
Either way - drain the spinach of all liquid and when cool enough to handle, squeeze it in your hands to shed any remaining liquid. Very finely chop with a knife.
Add the cooked, drained spinach with the eggs when making the dough.
Marcella Hazen, The Essentials of Italian Cooking, pp. 139 - 140
Taglierini, a very thin fresh pasta, also known as Tagliolini; It is cut very thin with a knife - about 3mm wide. It is suitable for serving with a sauce or for cooking in broth. It is ideal with delicate creamy sauces based on butter, eggs, and cheese or fish and shellfish.
Tagliatelle: These long ribbons of egg pasta dough are rolled very thin and cut into strips 5 - 8 mm. The classic sauce to accompany tagliatelle is the iconic Bolognese Ragu, but it also goes well with other creamy sauces. It is sometimes coloured green with spinach or black, with squid ink.
Fettuccine: The ribbons are a little wider than Tagliatelle - approx 1 cm and a little thicker - approx 2mm.
Sometimes used interchangeably with Tagliatelle, particularly in the south of Italy.
The flat elongated ribbons are suited best to sauces based on meat, sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes.
Trenette: Ribbons of fresh, narrow, flat pasta - similar to linguine but slightly thinner. Commonly served with Pesto and also goes well with other delicate fish and seafood sauces.
Pappardelle: These wide ribbons of pasta are similar to large Fettucine, and range in width from 2 - 6cm. Traditionally it is made from large sheets of dough and cut using a pasta wheel. The name is of Tuscan origin. In Bologna, it is sometimes called Larghissime - meaning 'very wide'. Sometimes it is cut with serrated edges (using a fluted pasta wheel). It is typically served with rich meat, mushroom and offal sauces. The Tuscans commonly serve it with a hare, duck or wild boar sauce. The Venetians generally use a veal sauce.
Maltagliati: Means 'badly cut' in Italian. It is made from the trimmings of lasagne sheets and other home made pasta. Usually cut into diamond or triangle shapes. Commonly served in broth or as an ingredient of bean soups. It also goes well with vegetable sauces.
Stracci: Typically found in Piedmont and Liguria. It means rags and is long flat pasta sheets cut narrower than lasagne. The shapes are irregular and the sauce is tossed through it - not layered. The pasta can be softened with the addition of oil and milk; spinach is sometimes added. Commonly combined with seafood sauces.
Lasagne : Cut thin wide sheets of dough to fit your lasagne pan - thin to at least the setting of 7 or 8. Parboil the sheets as instructed in the individual recipes. A lasagne should have at least 7 layers of pasta sheets alternated with the sauces.
Trofie: These tiny dumplings are made by rolling pieces of pasta into thin twists. It is typically served with Pesto sauce. Most classically it is mixed with boiled fresh white beans. NB a small amount of chestnut flour added to the white flour sweetens the trofie and the pesto.
DRYING NOODLES FOR LONG STORAGE:
Fresh pasta can be cooked the moment it is made and will only take a few minutes.
If you have pasta left over or you have made it to dry and store this is simple enough to do. Drying is a natural process and when fresh, dried pasta is cooked you will find that it retains all the texture and flavour that it had originally.
As the noodles are cut, gather several strands at a time and curl them into circular nest shapes. They need to be completely dry before being stored otherwise mould will develop. Before storing them - place the nests on tea towels to dry for at least 24 hours. When dry layer them in a large cardboard box or tin - placing absorbent kitchen towel between each layer.
Handle carefully because they are brittle. Store in a dry cupboard.
Recipe by Biba Caggiano, Biba's Taste of Italy
Storage information by Marcella Hazan, The Essentials of Italian Cooking
All adapted by Elizabeth Peddey
Pasta details are taken from The Silver Spoon, Pasta book.
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