Fresh Pasta

pasta

Ever since I first got into cooking there has been one item that ruled my culinary bucket list, creating fresh pasta. Any time I would eat at an Italian restaurant that uses house-made pasta the dish would automatically become a bowl of heaven.

It is almost kind of funny to think about, because pasta is one of those items we often take for granted. You get used to just buying a box of Barilla for $1.50 and seeing pasta as a pre-existing item. When I finally got the pasta attachment for my stand mixer my boyfriend exclaimed, “I did not even know you could make pasta, I always thought of it just kind of being there.” This idea gives making fresh pasta an almost mythological feel. Almost like creating something from nothing, and boy does it impress when you have company and announce that you made fresh pasta, it makes you seem at least 10 times fancier. And best of all? Not only is the process of working the pasta dough borderline theraputic, but fresh, homemade pasta has such a better chew and flavor to it as well. Using fresh noodles can take any pasta dish from standard to gourmet.

Now this recipe makes what does not seem like a whole lot of pasta, but one process of this recipe can yield you about two complete meals that could serve three or four. And trust me, because I am one of those people who normally cooks enough pasta to feed a village.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • splash of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl or on a floured surface place the flour into a mountain, and create a well in the middle. Place the whole eggs,egg yolks, oil, salt, and water into the well and stir with a fork, breaking up the yolks. While stirring start to incorporate the flour into the egg mixture until the dough starts to form. At this point use your hands and work the dough to fully combine everything. If you are using a stand mixer at this point you can use a dough hook over a low speed to combine everything. Your dough should be slightly shaggy.

Have a floured surface prepared. Place your dough onto the floured area and start to knead and turn. About 10-15 rotations should suffice. Add flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking, but try and keep the flour to a bare minimum.

Cover the dough with either plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow to rest for 30 mins-an hour.

Now for rolling the dough. You can do it yourself with a rolling pin, but I have to say I tried that before and it turned out pretty horrible. I really recommend using a pasta sheeter/roller, and that is what these directions will be for.

Cut the dough into four pieces. Run one of the pieces through the pasta roller on the lowest setting. Fold the dough over on itself and roll it through the lowest setting again. Repeat this two times in order to give the dough a good knead and ideally stretch the gluten. Start rolling the dough through the sheeter gradually increasing the level after each roll. If the dough becomes sticky you can place some flour on it. Roll through until you reach desired thickness, usually level 6 or 7 on the sheeter is the sweet spot.

At this point you have the option of keeping the pasta in sheets, maybe for lasagna or ravioli, or you can cut it into shapes like spaghetti or fettuccine. Usually the sheets come out extremely long so feel free to cut them in half before cutting. If you wish to cut the pasta there are a few options. Most pasta sheeters come with either a set of spaghetti and fettuccine cutters, or extruders that make your tube pastas like macaroni and bucatini. If absolutely none of those tickle your fancy, for example maybe you are in the mood for extra broad papparedelle then simply roll the pasta sheet into a tube and cut according to your desired thickness. Repeat the rolling and potential cutting for all four hunks of pasta. Either cook immediately or store in an airtight container or zip-top bag in the freezer for up to three months.

If cooking the pasta add it to boiling, salted water and cook for 90 seconds to two minutes. Finish cooking the pasta by sauteing it in your sauce.

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