Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fresh Pasta

What is the most delicious food you can make at home?

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Fresh pasta dough. If you have the right tools, it is way easier than you might think. And, the ingredient list is SO simple. I often make this when I don't have a lot on hand.

A few years ago, Brian bought me an Imperia Pasta Machine and I use it all the time. I make fresh pasta anywhere from 3-8 times each month. It definitely takes awhile to get the hang of. When I first started, it took me significantly longer than it does now. Right now, it only takes about 15 minutes to make a huge batch. If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, you can buy an attachment that will do some of the work for you, but I'm perfectly happy with the hand crank.

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Start off with three cups of flour. I always use white whole wheat flour and I think that it creates a great firm texture in the final product and is the easiest to work with. This batch as actually about 2 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup regular whole wheat flour, because I ran out. Flour makes a big difference when it comes to texture, so maybe start with white whole wheat and then play around with different blends once you are comfortable with the process.

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Create a well in the middle of your flour and add four eggs.

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Start to mix up.

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I use a fork and circular motions to move around the perimeter of the flour well, pulling in more flour as I go.

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When it starts to thicken up, get in there with your hands. I start when it looks something like this,

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It's super sticky. I keep it in the bowl to minimize the mess, and bring it out for some more kneading on the counter when it's a little more combined.

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Stop when its firm and get tough to knead.

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Let the dough set a minute, while you put together your machine.

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I split the dough into quarters and work with one quarter at a time.

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Flatten and add to the machine, cranking through at the lowest level (the rollers are farthest apart).

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Roll it through, then take the dough and fold it into quarters before adding it back in.

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Its time to embrace imperfection, because this stage will never look the same.

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Continue to roll the dough through the lowest setting five more times, for a total of seven. (hello toes! whoops!) Then move on to the next setting and roll the dough through each of the following settings one time.

When you get to the second highest setting (the dough will get thinner each time), cut the dough in half. This will make the final strands of pasta more manageable. I don't use the highest setting at all- the pasta is too thin.

Add on the pasta cutter and feed each half in- I used the linguine setting. I imagine you could also slice the dough into strands, it would just take a bit more time.

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Repeat with the remaining quarters. You will have tons of delicious pasta all over your kitchen counter.

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To cook, add to a boiling pot of water. Fresh pasta only takes one minute to cook- if you leave it in there longer it gets gummy and gross. It floats up to the top just like this:

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Enjoy! Last night, I added the pasta to some diced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, broccoli, spinach and some salt and pepper. Topped with mozzarella cheese!

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