It's amazing I have been at this blog this long and haven't' covered homemade pasta! Homemade pasta is something I make fairly often. There is just nothing like fresh pasta--the taste is different, and I love the thought of making my own pasta. Though it may seem a little impressive, it's not hard at all. If you have a food processor and a free hour and a half, you can make pasta.
I happen to have a pasta machine, but I only got it after months of pasta making, if you can believe it. At first, I would just roll out the pasta by hand and then I would cut it with a pizza cutter. It took a heck of a lot more time without the pasta machine, so when I was gifted this one for my birthday last year, I was a happy home chef!
My one pet peeve about making pasta is where to put the finished product. Putting the finished noodles on top of one another can lead to sticking, which is basically a nightmare. When you make pasta, it's also somewhat delicate, so you want to be able to move it minimally. There are pasta drying racks available for the pasta making enthusiast, but really, you can make your own makeshift drying rack like I did. It's easy and makes the process a ton easier.
My makeshift pasta drying rack is made out of grilling tools, electrical tape, and two tallish boxes.
The aim is to be able to hang the pasta. I built in the two rows, and it was perfect for the amount of pasta I made!
Pasta is made of flour, egg, oil, a dash of salt, and a bit of water.
A food processor makes the job a breeze.
Sure, you can be a purist and do the flour with the well, but really, this saves you clean up and makes for a good dough.
You start with the flour. Then you add the eggs and process (it sort of looks like cornmeal when you mix them!)
Then you add the oil through the processor (while it's running)
Then the water, one tablespoon at a time
It becomes a nice, uniform ball before your eyes, and just like that: POOF!
You want lots of flour on hand because it keeps the pasta from sticking to everything you are using and/or touching.
Lay your dough out on your floured surface.
Cover your dough with an awesome Phish themed kitchen towel.
For the next 30 minutes, make jokes to the towel and call it "Phishman"
30 minutes later, realize you are still making Phish jokes, and talking to a towel.....
Get your pasta machine hooked up
Slice your readied pasta dough into three sections
Give 'em a nice little dose of flour
Also, you want to flour your pasta machine often, as well as flouring the dough throughout the process, making sure that the pasta isn't sticking.
Start by passing the dough through the machine.
The one side makes the pasta into flat sheets, and the other side cuts the pasta into the classic shapes.
The largest setting is "1"
The smallest setting is "8"
You want to go from largest to smallest to avoid the dough getting too thin too fast. It's best to run it through each number a couple of times to ensure the dough doesn't tear.
The more you do it, the easier it will be. There is a rhythm
If your pasta sheets get too long, simply cut them in half.
Keep in mind that the length of the sheet will end up being the length of a noodle... and no one can handle a 3 foot noodle!
Once you get the pasta dough thing enough, you are ready to pass it through the end that cuts the dough into shapes.
[Make sure your machine is well-floured!]
As you finish your pasta, hang it on the rack to dry a bit.
You can either let the pasta dry completely, use it immediately, or let it dry out for a little while until you are ready to use it.
This particular day, I made the pasta ahead of time and I let it dry for a few hours until I was ready to use it....
What I didn't use, I put into this tupperware and stored in the freezer.
You can store the pasta in the freezer for up to 8 months! Cool right?!
You will need:
1 3/4 cups All purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten with a fork a bit
1tablespoon olive oil
1-4 tablespoons water
Place the flour and salt in the food processor, start the processor running and add the eggs. The texture will look slightly like cornmeal.
With the machine still running, add the oil through the top, slowly.
Once the oil is incorporated, begin adding the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a ball in the machine (you may not need it all). The dough should be easy to handle, and not too moist.
Flour your work surface, and place your dough ball on it. Cover the dough and let it sit (covered) for 20 minutes.
After the dough has rested, cut the dough into 3 pieces. Re-flour your dough.
Begin running it through the pasta machine, on the lowest setting (number 1) first and working your way up to setting number 7, running the dough through each number 2 times to ensure it doesn't tear or get too thin too fast. Re-flour as needed (especially if any sticking occurs)
After the dough is thinned, run it through the other side, choosing your desired cut of pasta.
Hang your pasta as it is finished. You can cook the pasta right away or let it dry out (up to overnight). You can also freeze the dried pasta and save in the freezer for up to 8 months.
Cook the fresh pasta in salted water for 2-3 minutes, 6-8 minutes for dried pasta.