Wednesday 22 August 2012

Fresh Pasta

For the very first time in my life this evening I made fresh pasta from scratch. I can't for the life of me figure out why it's taken me this long. I've been a lover of pasta my entire life (my mom will vouch for that), and it's never occurred to me how simple, affordable, and delicious homemade pasta can be. I have had fresh pasta before in restaurants and once bought fresh pasta at St Lawrence Market here in Toronto. I've never quite had pasta the way I did this evening for dinner. It's ridiculously simple! Check this out...

Per serving you need...

1.5 cups of pastry or cake flour
2 large eggs
3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

It's just a matter of making a "well" with the flour and cracking an egg in the middle of the hole. Add the olive oil to the egg and whisk together with a fork. Slowly incorporate flour from the walls of the well into the egg. It will begin to form a workable dough. Once it's clumpy enough to use your hands, knead the dough into a ball. Knead the ball of dough for an additional six minutes or so. When you're finished, the dough should be thoroughly combined, a bit springy, and have kind of "elastic" qualities. Rub a bit more olive oil over the ball of dough and just let it sit in a covered bowl for half an hour. Kneading the dough is necessary to get the required texture for pasta but it puts a lot of stress on the flour. Leaving it to rest for thirty minutes will allow it to relax and be much more cooperative for the next step.

When your dough is nicely rested, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it flat with a rolling pin. If you don't have a rolling pin, use a wine bottle (or if your olive oil is in a cylindrical bottle, use that!). Roll the dough into a sheet about 2 milometers thick. Lightly flour your surface, dough, and rolling device as often as needed. Using a sharp knife, trim any excess dough on the sides and make a rectangle. Then it's just a matter of rolling the sheet into a cigar-like shape and slicing the pasta into ribbons, like you would a chiffonade of basil. Toss the noodles in a little more flour, to keep them from sticking to one another, and you are set!

For a perfect al dente, fresh pasta only takes about 90 seconds in salted, boiling water to cook. Once it's drained you can do whatever you like with it: tomato sauce, cream sauce, pesto, garlic and oil, etc, etc... you're the boss of your sauce 

For this particular dish I threw together a really simple white sauce with a bit of olive oil, butter, cream, garlic, onion, and basil. After some fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, I was left with a satisfying and rich vegetarian entrĂ©e.

If you haven't tried to make this before, please do. I don't see any reason to ever buy pasta again. You may not either. Especially when you can make something like this for next to nothing:

What a treat. I can't wait to show this off the next time I get to cook for someone else. 

Thanks for reading, take good care of yourself, be happy and stay fed.


Blogger's note: "Al dente" translated to English literally means "to the tooth". Meaning that al dente pasta has a slight firmness. Pasta should have a bit of chew to it. Nobody in the right mind likes mushy, overcooked pasta. 

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