Everyone should try making their own pasta at least once. But, even if you don’t have a machine, it can be done. Here’s how to get the job done, whether you have professional tools or not.
Making pasta at home is a real challenge. Most people struggle trying to get the ingredients just right. And, searching around the Internet doesn’t help. Everyone has a different recipe. For most, the trial and error method is in order.
Of course, if you want a shortcut, follow professional chefs. According Niki Achitoff-Gray, the best recipe uses one whole egg, and two egg yolks per every five ounces of flour. The recipe produces soft, but not crumbly, pasts that holds up when boiled and has a nice mouthfeel.
Make a Flour Well
Get your flour gathered into a mound on the counter, and spread out the middle, making a well for the eggs. This is important because you want the flour to contain the yolks and mix with them.
When you’ve got all your eggs and yolks in the middle, it’s time to mix everything. Here’s where the process gets fun. Fold the flour into the yolks and mix everything together very well. When everything is well-combined, it’s time to knead the dough.
As you begin to fold, you’ll see that the mixture becomes a dough. It’s at this point that you want to knead the dough, introduce air bubbles, and massage the proteins in the flour. Flour contains sticky and stretchy proteins, called gluten. These gluten proteins are what give pasta its slightly stretchy and flexible shape. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Don’t worry about overdoing it. It will only get more and more elastic and stretchy. What you have to worry about is the dough drying out.
Let the dough rest for at least an hour. If you don’t, it will be very tough and almost impossible to cut and cook. It may also fall apart. By resting the dough, you give it a chance to relax and it becomes the classic dough ball that your mom (or grandmother) used to show you before making bread or cookies.
After the dough has rested, it’s time to cut it into pasta.
You can search this website for professional pasta makers and rollers, or you can do it by hand. Pasta machines makes the process faster and more fun. All you do with the rolled dough is feed it through the cutter and use a knife to chop off the ends. You’ll end up with perfectly-cut pasta each and every time.
Of course, if you don’t have a pasta maker, or you want to try it by hand, get yourself a sharp knife and a ruler. If you want to make special shapes, like Farfalles, you’ll need a wheel tool to make the cuts.
But, it’s not that difficult. Measure the thickness you want your pasta to be and have at it.
There are many ways to cook pasta. Mostly, you’ll be boiling it. This is super-easy. Boil water, add a pinch of salt to the water, and boil the pasta for 60 to 90 seconds. Fresh pasta cooks very quickly.
When it’s done, eat.
Lucinda Grey is a homebody. Happiest in the kitchen, and always hosting dinner parties, Lucinda loves to try out new recipes. Currently on maternity leave she has started blogging for women’s lifestyle sites and hopes to make this a regular thing once baby is born.