Basic Handmade Pasta

Monday, January 18, 2010

That's right. I took the plunge and made handmade pasta last night. My right arm/wrist/hand have recovered pretty well by now, and I think Nick and I agree that it was worth the effort. It was fun!! I did watch a YouTube video on how to roll out the dough for cutting into strips (ala linguine), and it has to be super thin for the noodles to not resemble/taste/texture of spaetzle (which I remember making in 9th grade Home Ec). But I have to say it was fun to be able to make the pasta myself...would I do it every day?! No. Did I enjoy it? Yes. The results were worth it. And now I can't wait to try to make my own ravioli!!

I used a Mario Batali "Basic Pasta Dough" recipe:

3 1/2 cups unbleached All Purpose flour
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Here's what I did:

On a large cutting board or wide, clean, flat surface, I made a mountain with the flour. Then with my fingers, I created a bowl or crater in the center. I cracked the eggs into the space I created, making room as needed for the eggs and olive oil. Then, with a fork, I began to gently stir and beat the eggs, slowly folding and sprinkling in the flour as I went. I will warn that I took a very long time to incorporate the flour...maybe 10 minutes? Because if you go too fast you risk incorporating too much flour, and having less successful dough. Once the eggs and flour started to come together, and pull away from the flour "mountain" that now resembled more of an outline...I began to fold it over and into itself with the fork.

At this point, I tested with my finger, and the dough readily stuck to it, so I continued to add flour. The dough needs to be sticky but not stick and glop to your hand or the surface you're working on. Once the dough was well incorporated, I transferred it to a NEW, clean, flour dusted cutting board and began to knead. I kneaded the dough for 6 minutes, then wrapped it tightly in saran wrap, and then let it rest Unrefrigerated for 30 minutes. Kneading consists of continually folding the dough on itself, and the pushing it back out into a larger ball with the heels of your hands.

Once the dough had rested, I cleaned a very large area of my countertop and dusted with flour. I had just finished watching this YouTube video: and tried to replicate with my much smaller rolling pin. Then I took a pizza cutter, and tried to cut very thin noodles out of the dough, similar to a common linguine. I was not shy about flour, either. Every chance I got, I continued to rotate the dough 1/4 turn and dust underneath so that my sheet of dough didn't stick to the counter.

I don't have a pasta drying rack, but the recipe suggests to allow the noodles to "dry" for another 30 minutes before boiling/cooking. I used a large mixing bowl, and laid my noodles over the side, and across the bowl as I found space. I allowed them to rest for 15 minutes, as my water was boiling, and Nick's chicken had already come out of the oven!

Once my water was at a rolling boil, a touch of olive oil was added to the water, to help prevent sticking. I added a "Test" noodle to see if the noodle would hold up. It did. So I went ahead and added the rest of my noodles and allowed them to cook for 3-5 minutes. The recipe suggests 3 minutes, but at 3 minutes my pasta was still a little chewy, so I left it in a little longer. I think maybe the pot was a little small for the amount of pasta, and my noodles were not perfectly cut, so some where thicker - and all in all the whole batch took longer to cook.

Once the noodles were cooked to the right tenderness that I wanted, I drained them and then plated alongside Nick's balsamic glazed chicken. I opted to just use the juice/glaze and caramelized onions from his recipe (another Batali recipe from the same book), and it was very good.

What would I change next time? I think I need a way to make my noodles more uniform in size. I also need a way to allow the noodles to dry better. I need to brainstorm some household items that I might be able to rig into pasta dry racks...


Organizing Mommy said...

I've made homemade pasta before, and it's so yummy! I just usually don't plan for it.

Kate said...

Thanks for posting a comment on my blog! lol. How do you find the time to make all this fancy stuff?!

CFO said...

@Kate - Its usually a weekend, or due to pre-planning on the weekends. Nick and I tend to be ambitious with our meals though, so we sometimes get in over our heads!! The first time making this was Nick's version, and it was "less than successful". I won't say that women do it better, but patience is key in getting the dough right. Come back and visit!

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