Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homemade Pasta

I have this memory that isn't my own, it's actually my mum's. I never knew my great italian grandmother Corradetti but she used to make her own pasta. My mum would come home from school, work or playing outside to fresh pasta drying over the backs of chairs, on tea towels across the bed and when the weather conditions were mild... even on the laundry line in the back yard. When I was growing up, my parents made it every Sunday. I used to eat the raw strands and they dried on the kitchen counters. Mostly they were whole wheat (my mother was a health nut). It was always my fathers job to work the machine and my mothers job to make the sauce. I'd always help my dad. I still remember that sweet, doughy smell and remember the feeling of an early afternoon sun on my face.

For Christmas a few years ago I got a pasta machine, not one that did all the work for me but one of those classic, metal creations that you feed the dough through and turn the crank yourself.

It's so easy to make your own, I don't know why anyone wouldn't.

Homemade pasta
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄2 teaspoon coarse salt

Mound flour on work surface and make well in centre. Add eggs and salt to well. With fork, gently draw in flour to centre, making sure not to break the circle. Knead remaining flour with your hands to form soft dough. If hands get too sticky, add more flour. Knead 8 to 10 minutes. Place in bowl and cover with cloth and let stand 1 hour.
Divide dough into 4 pieces, then flatten each piece into rough rectangle. Set rollers of pasta machine on widest setting. Lightly dust dough and feed through machine. The dough will start to stretch. Continue changing setting to next number. Repeat until dough is smooth and long. Lay sheets on lightly dusted baking sheet and dry 15 minutes.

Attach blade to machine (check manufacturer’s instructions). Feed one end of a sheet into blades and catch strips from underneath machine before sheet goes completely through rollers. Gather strips and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with remaining dough. Let pasta dry 10 minutes prior to cooking. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 day.

For cooking, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender but still firm. Toss with your favourite sauce.

Serves 4 to 6.

Tip: Try adding wine to the water while you boil the pasta. There are a lot of variations on this trip but it can add an interesting flavor and color to the pasta. Here is one suggestion - Tuscan Spaghetti cooked in Wine

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