Fresh Pasta

Posted in Food, Recipes by Elizabeth on June 28, 2010

This is essentially a “how to make pasta from scratch” post.  I’ve had lots of people react with bug eyes and dropped jaws when I say that I make pasta from scratch.  It is time that everyone learns how incredibly easy fresh pasta is to make (not to mention how delicious it is).  So in an effort to do just that, I had my good friend, Jenna, over the other night (thanks for playing photographer!) and we got started.

First, the ingredients:

Flour, salt, an egg (or two).

Seriously that’s it.  You want to get fancy later on?  Get some squid ink, or pesto and add that in there too.  But this is the basics.  For just two people one egg is enough.  If you want leftovers, or are serving four people, or are making a lasagna, then 2 eggs work.  Once you start making this you will see how much comes out of each egg and can adjust based on each meal from there.

Step 1 in the process is putting combining the ingredients.  Pour about a cup of flour (no need for real measurements here) on the counter or flat surface.  Make a little well for your egg and crack it right in there.  Season with some salt.  To start the kneading process I use a fork to get the egg into the flour before diving in with my hands.  When you do get your hands in there it is helpful to have a little flour on them and to mostly use your palms.  Using your fingers can result in lots of dough in between your fingers and not in a nice ball.

You’ll probably knead the dough for maybe two minutes?  It doesn’t take long to get it into a nice ball.  You want it to be not too moist (like playdough) and not too dry (the tougher it is, the drier it is, if you’re killing yourself kneading this, it is probably too dry).

Once you have your pasta dough ball, put that in the fridge to chill for 20-25 minutes.  Then you’ll want to divide the dough before rolling it out.  If you went the 1 egg route, you only need to divide it once.  Two or more eggs is probably worth dividing it into three or four parts.  The next step is rolling the dough out.  No matter if you have a dough press or attachment for your kitchen aid mixer or are rolling it old school (like I did) with a rolling pin, you first want to flatten the dough with your palm before rolling action.   The idea here is getting the dough as thin as possible without creating holes (patch the few that may show up).  If you’re using a press, follow the instructions for that press.  If you’re using a rolling pin and counter, be sure to sprinkle flour on both surfaces to prevent sticking (and reapply as necessary).

Again, since I don’t have a press, I cut the pasta with a knife.  You can use a pastry cutter here too.  When the pasta is cooked it will expand, so go as thin as you can, it’ll fatten up.  You’ll basically always be making linguine (unless you have a fancy press that might give you different cuts that can go narrower than my knife.

Get some water boiling with a healthy dash of salt.  Throw in your pasta.  It will cook super fast – 2 minutes.  Not much of an al dente option with fresh pasta like this, but with the way this tastes, you won’t care.  Then add this pasta to your meal!  For dinner on this night we did a lovely white wine tomato sauce with some bay scallops.  I took the pasta straight from the boiling water and into this sauce to mix it up.

Ta-Da!  Now go treat yourself to some fresh pasta.  Or, better yet, impress your significant other with fresh pasta for dinner!  Happy cooking!


5 Responses

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  1. Sarah said, on June 28, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Amazing. Truly amazing. Now, if I had that recipe for white wine tomato sauce with scallops, I might actually try this! Hint, hint 😉

  2. Elizabeth said, on June 29, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    The white wine tomato sauce was very simple. I sautéed a diced shallot with some olive oil, let them get nice and golden. Then I added some minced garlic, a can of tomatoes (you can do fresh, i just didn’t have any), and some white wine (maybe 1/4 cup). Toss in your scallops with some fresh chopped thyme. and let it simmer away. You could also add anchovies and capers. A sprinkle of lemon juice would be good too. Bay scallops didn’t need too long to cook. They can be replaced with clams or mussels too and just steam them for about 10 mins (til they open) before tossing with pasta. ta-da! such a versatile and easy sauce. One other hint is to add a dash of flour if you want to thicken the sauce.

    • Meredith said, on August 23, 2010 at 12:24 am

      I just had some people over for dinner and we made this pasta with a version of this sauce and it was wonderful! It took slightly longer than 2 minutes to cook the pasta on our stove. So delicious – sauce, pasta, experience. 🙂 Thanks Elizabeth!

      • Elizabeth said, on August 23, 2010 at 9:09 am

        I’m so glad you liked it! How much did your friends love the making of fresh pasta? I’m sure you were quite the praised chef! What was your sauce?

  3. Meredith said, on August 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    It was lots of fun! They came over and we put them to work so we were all very proud chefs. 🙂 We added shrimp and scallops to the sauce and boy oh boy was it so so good! We skipped the thyme, mainly because we forgot, but it was delicious.

    We fell into some unexpected traps like, I couldn’t fit 2 eggs into my flour volcano so it spilled over the sides and resulted in a huge sticky eggy-floury mess, but in the end it worked out well! We used wheat flour and made linguini. All in all it was so much fun start to finish! Keep ’em comin Elizabeth! I’m determined to improve my culinary skills!

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