Billie's Perfect Pasta Recipe

I have run the gamut of flours working on toward the perfect pasta recipe. I started, of course, with all-purpose flour, as that is suggested many times over in all sorts of recipes for pasta. It's fine enough... but then somewhere I crossed the imaginary line of pasta making and went from sometimes pasta maker to serious pasta maker and it just wouldn't do.

I tried bread flour... better perhaps, but it didn't have quite the right feel. Then I came across Semolina and fancy durum flour, which had the label "pasta flour" on it. Tried it... and liked it more than I liked either the bread or all-purpose flour. Then, one unassuming day I went into a local Italian specialty store, and there is was: 00 flour.

00 Flour is produced in Italy and it is THE flour for making pasta. I had read about it in books, but I didn't think I could get it here, and so when I discovered I could, my excitement could not be contained! I was so elated that I bought 3 bags right there on the spot!

After working with the 00 flour, I realize it truly IS the holy grail to pasta making. It's far superior to any other flour I have used for making pasta, and the elasticity is spot on. So, at long last, here is my perfect pasta recipe. Feel free to substitute out the flour, if you like, especially if you can't find the 00 Flour... but if you can, by god, don't even THINK of substitutions!

I am using a compilation of photographs on this one so that you get the best ideas of where I am coming from on the recipe. I do hope that you will give the recipe a try--it's truly awesome to make and eat your own pasta.... plus, I have a ravioli recipe coming up on Thursday!!!


00 Flour. Also comes in a blue bag. 

This is your secret pasta weapon, trust me. 


The recipe is pretty simple: 1 egg per 1 cup of flour... and 1 tablespoon of oil per cup of flour. I go with 3 in the recipe, so 3 cups flour, 3 eggs, 3 tablespoons of oil. Simple right?! 

You want to make a well in the flour and in that well put the eggs and oil. Then beat the egg/oil with a fork. 



Next you start pulling the flour from around the outside into the egg mixture. It;ll get a little crumbly, as you see here, and when it gets to this point, I begin to add a tablespoon of room temperature water at a time until I am mixing (of course, with my hands) and this starts to form: 



The ball of dough. You want it to be formed up in a circle and it should be smooth. You don't want it to be wet or too dry. You should be able to run your hand over it without any dough sticking to your hand. 

Cover it with a tea towel and let it rest for about 30 minutes. This is important to time and give it's little nap. Don't skimp on this step! 


Once it's rested, re-flour it and cut it into 3 or 4 pieces. You can use a pizza cutter to do this, or a dough scraper--your choice! 


There are some really hardcore people with pasta and they think that you can only roll by hand....like, with a rolling pin. To me, that's just crazy talk! You must have a pasta maker. They aren't terribly expensive, but they ARE worth every penny. It is the best, most consistent way to get the best thickness on the pasta. 

They also have these in Kitchen Aid attachments. I am attached to my hand crank machine, so I can't speak to those machines, but hey, whatever works for you is what you should do! 

The key to rolling out your dough: have a well-floured machine and patience. You don't want the dough to get too thin too fast otherwise it will fall apart. You start with the lowest setting (1) and work your way up to about 7 or 8, rolling it through each number a couple of times for uniformity. Flour often! 


Once you've got your dough done you can cut your own shapes, like the farfale (little bow ties) shape you see I have done....it's easy too. 


Here I did the egg style noodles for soups! 

You can also do traditional pasta or linguine, or any other shape you really enjoy! Dry the pasta on a drying rack (or make your own, if you are feeling crafty, like I did here.) Or freeze it. The dried stuff has to be used right away (within 3 days) but the stuff in the freezer will keep for up to 8 months!!! 

Billie's Perfect Pasta Recipe: 

Takes 1 1/2 hours | Serves 4 | Difficulty Level: Medium 

You Will Need:

3 cups 00 flour 
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil 

water, room temperature 

Special equipment: 
Pasta machine
dough scraper/ pizza cutter 

Method

On clean hard surface or pasta board, pour flour into a mound. Make a well large enough to hold the eggs and oil. 

Crack the eggs into the well and add the oil. Beat the egg/oil mixture with a fork. 

Once the eggs are beaten, work with your hands to pull the flour into the egg mixture and combine. 

When it's getting to the point where the mixture is fully combined but a little crumbly/ dry, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until a dough begins to form. 

The dough should be smooth and elastic--not sticky! Roll into a ball and cover with a tea towel. Allow to rest for 30 minutes. 

Once the dough is rested, divide it into 3 or 4 equal parts. Flour the dough and the machine well. 

Starting on the lowest setting (1), run each portion of the dough though the machine 1 or 2 times on each setting until you get to 7 or 8... this is a personal preference thing, too, I prefer 7, but you might prefer a thinner pasta. That is entirely up to you! 

If the dough breaks or separates, don't worry, just re-flour your machine and dough, fold the dough over on itself and run back through. Sometimes you might need to go back a setting to get the dough back together---have patience with your dough and you will be rewarded. The more you make your own pasta, the better you will become at this step! 

When your dough is thinned to your liking, run it though your desired pasta setting attachment, or form into shapes!

Repeat with all your dough until you are done! 

To cook the pasta, drop it into boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes. Keep in mind that fresh pasta takes almost no time to cook and you don't want to over do it!!! 






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