homemade pasta

which came first, 
the pasta or my hunger for it?
simple. unadorned. frank. unpretentious. 
a bowl of linguine satiates my appetite with its sincerity.

          dried-off-the-shelf pasta is a counterfeit of the light, moist, giving handcrafted kind. homemade pasta has an uncomplicated taste that chews into an immense pleasure. i would eat heaping bowls of it, slathered with spoonfuls of butter, if the world was a magic place where pasta was calorie free. when i make it for people they are comforted and made happy in a fundamental way, which makes me all the more happy to serve it to them.
          if i make a small batch i just mix it by hand and roll it out with a rolling pin. but, when i make a big batch, i get out the pasta roller & cutter attachments for my kitchen aid. either way, once you master the three main ingredients, there are oodles of possibilities for using a sheet of pasta. cut it into squares, rounds, ribbons of pappardelle. make ravioli, cannelloni, lasagna. or pinch it into little bow ties to toss with peas so you can eat it with a spoon.
pasta - makes 10 servings
• 4 eggs
• semolina flour
• unbleached all-purpose white flour
• dried oregano or minced parsley (optional)
• kosher salt
1. in the food processor fitted with the basic blade, pulse the eggs until a little frothy. add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the semolina and the oregano or parsley if you want to, and blend well. gradually add the all purpose flour about 1/4 cup at a time, pulsing in between additions, just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl - it should still be wet & sticky. turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board to knead, adding a little flour at a time, until it is soft and smooth, about 8-10 min. wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter about an hour.
2. cut the dough into fourths. process 1/4 at a time, and wrap the other pieces back up to keep from drying out. using a pasta machine, dust the 1/4 piece of dough with flour and flatten a little with your hands. then put it through the #1 setting on the pasta roller. dust it again with flour and fold in half, run it through the roller a few times to form a long, even sheet.
3. dust the sheet with flour, set the pasta roller to #2 and run the sheet through the roller. increase the setting to #3, and on up to #4 for the correct thickness to make ravioli. i take it up to about #6 for linguini, but ravioli needs to be a little thicker to hold the stuffing. cut the sheets to measure about 15" to 16" long. process the remaining 1/4 pieces of dough and dust the sheets with flour to stack them and keep them from sticking.
4. cut the pasta sheets by hand into whatever shape you need. or, cut it with the linguini cutter on the pasta machine.
5. once it's cut, dust it with flour to keep it from sticking together.
6. put a large pot of water on the flame and once it boils drop in about 1 tsp. of kosher salt. drop in the shapes, ribbons, or linguine and stir to keep from sticking.
7. once the pot comes back up to a full boil count 10-12 seconds and remove it with a large wire bamboo strainer. give it a few shakes to remove as much of the water as possible, and then lay it out on a large platter.
8. drizzle the hand-cut shapes, ribbons, or the linguine with a good amount of olive oil, and let it cool a little. then, toss it with your fingers to distribute the olive oil and keep it from sticking together. salt it before serving.
al dente is divine!

1 comment:

Catalina said...

I love that picture with the egg and flour!
Yummy pasta - mmmmm