Monday, 2 March 2015

how to make homemade pasta.


I love making fresh pasta at home. I see it like the savoury version of making cupcakes; time consuming, therapeutic and rewarding. It tastes so much better homemade and it's perfect for when you're feeling creative. On the other hand, I definitely wouldn't recommend attempting making it when hungry. Pasta dough is definitely not as tasty as a bowl of buttercream. 

Since my Granny and Grandpa bought me the fantastic gift of a pasta machine back in Christmas 2012, I've been trying my hand at all sorts of homemade pasta shapes, sizes, flavours and dishes. I'm by no means a pasta pro, but i thought it was about time I shared some pasta making tips and tricks i've learnt along the way.

Shopping List.
(For one portion)
♥ One egg
♥ 100g "00" grade pasta flour
♥ A pinch of salt
♥ Polenta or semolina, to prevent finished pasta sticking together

Tip: For vegan pasta, use 80g cold water and a splash of olive oil, in replacement of the egg.

Equipment
♥ A pasta machine
♥ A rolling pin
♥ A mixer with a dough hook
♥ Your chosen cutters

You can then use this as a guide e.g. when cooking for two, use two eggs and 200g of pasta flour.


The recipe.
You can make fresh pasta dough the traditional way, like in my first attempt. however since having a mixer with a dough hook, I've found my life is made much easier. 

Step one. Add your egg, flour and salt to your mixer bowl.




Step two. Use your dough hook attachment to knead the pasta dough on a medium speed for 5-10 minutes, checking every now and again that the pasta is forming into a ball. If it isn't, you may need to get your hand in there (not when switched on!) and help it into a ball. When the dough has been brought together, continue to knead for a further five minutes.


Step three. With floured hands, grab the pasta dough from the hook and place on a floured surface.



Step four. Divide your pasta dough into more manageable balls. using a floured rolling pin, roll the piece out into a rectangular sausage that looks like it would fit through your pasta machine on the widest setting.



Step five. Begin to wind through, using flour on the pasta dough to prevent sticking.

Step six. Fold it back on itself and rework through the pasta machine. it may be tempting to stop when the pasta gets thinner, but folding over and repeating the process creates gluten and elasticity in the pasta.



Step seven. It will eventually become a smooth and silky texture in a lovely yellowish shade. unless you fancy lasagne, this is when you're ready to get creative with homemade pasta shapes! Once you have made your chosen shape, allow your pasta to dry for 30 minutes whilst you make the accompaniments.


So what pasta do you fancy making?

A nice and easy one to start with is farfalle, better know as the classic pasta bow. For this, simply cut the pasta sheets into rectangles and pinch in the middle.


Or perhaps your pasta machine has a linguine or spaghetti attachment? This is especially good to make if you plan on watching The Sopranos or Lady and the Tramp. You just cannot believe how awesome this tastes in comparison to dry spaghetti. (Which of course I still use from time to time, I ain't no superwoman).

If you don't have an attachment, you can still make something similar to pappardelle or fettuccine really easily, simply by using a knife or serrated rolling pin to cut the pasta up. Similarly, for penne, you can get a really cool little wooden block tool to make them by hand.


A little more time consuming are the ravioli and tortellini - but so worth it! I've made the likes of salmon tortellini and spinach and ricotta ravioli but just go with the flow. I find a basic filling and interesting sauce or vice versa work really well. So think simple seasoned salmon, with a more flavoursome sauce.


My top tips.
♥ Have lots of time on your side. It goes without saying, this is something you don't want to be doing hangry. perhaps make on a saturday afternoon ready for tea that night.

 Be patient. without sounding like some kind of crazy preaching pasta pastor, I promise it is possible for anyone to make fresh pasta if you take your time.

♥ You might think you've put it through the pasta machine enough, you probably haven't. It makes me sad when you learn this the hard way, as when you put the pasta though a thinner setting too early, it shreds it to pieces. Don't worry, this is rectified by forming it back together, adding flour and rolling through a wider setting again.

♥ Don't forget to secure your pasta machine to your worktop with the vice. Self explanatory, but stranger things have happened.

♥ Improvise. Haven't got a fancy ravioli cutter? Not to worry, use a mini tart tin. no pasta drier? Me neither, I use coat hangers and hope my clothes don't end up covered in flour when I forget to clean them.


♥ Polenta is your best friend. Polenta or semolina are perfect for stopping the finished pasta sticking together before cooking.

♥ Get your water boiling hot before dropping in the saucepan. The pasta is ready when it rises to the top. make sure you watch it as it can get a lot more frothy and bubbly.

♥ Only cook the pasta for 3-5 minutes. You will be surprised how fast it will take compared to regular pasta.

♥ Some pasta is great to make ahead. some not so much. Anything with just pasta such as spaghetti, farfalle, linguine is great to make ahead and allow to dry. Filled pasta such as ravioli is a no no in the fridge (I learnt the hard way) as the filling makes the pasta soggy and sticky. There is probably a way to prevent this, but I haven't found it yet.

♥ Homemade pasta will make you happy. This is just a given.

Any tips you have, please do let me know. Any questions on my pasta related ramblings? Whack them in the comments too!

Happy pasta making guys! 

10 comments:

  1. I need to get a pasta machine - this looks so fun! x

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  2. great post Emily - I'm really looking forward to trying my machine now 😊 id love to see your method for making tortellini. But first I'm going to conquer the little bows!

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    1. Thank you :) From watching a few YouTube videos (in Italian haha) there are different techniques. Easiest seems to be sealing the filling in a half moon and then pinching the edges together. There are more pictures of the process on my salmon recipe xx

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  3. great post Emily - I'm really looking forward to trying my machine now 😊 id love to see your method for making tortellini. But first I'm going to conquer the little bows!

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  4. I washed my pasta machine. Which was hard. This is happening! xx

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    1. Oh yeah probably should have mentioned I hate cleaning mine especially when I've made spaghetti. Haha. DO ITTTTTT. Looking forward to seeing the results xx

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  5. I have always wanted to try this, must give it a go

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  6. I think that this is very clever indeed!

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  7. Love these! Such a fun thing to do, the little bows and tortellini are so sweet!

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