- 125g of strong white flour or 00 flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 free range medium sized egg
- 1 tsp extra virgin oilive oil
- 1 tbsp water
- Extra flour for sprinkling
Pasta Week Day One - How To Make Pasta
Welcome to Pasta Week!
We had such a great time with Jam Week and it was a real success with people who hadn’t made jam before. So we’re sticking with another kitchen classic and thoroughly exploring making pasta and showcasing some simple but really bloody tasty recipes.
Today I’m kicking off with the basics. How to make the stuff and what I think you need to create very good homemade pasta. Without a shadow of a doubt homemade pasta tastes very different to the packets of dried pasta that are sold in the food stores and also very different to the fresh pasta that you can purchase from the chiller cabinet.
Homemade pasta is lighter, like air in fact, softer, not as hard to digest and does not make you feel like you have eaten a cannonball. Homemade pasta inspires you to experiment with fillings, sauces and accompaniments because once you have successfully made pasta at home you feel like you can DO ANYTHING in the kitchen. I can say this truthfully because this is exactly the way I felt afterwards.
And although I never like to discuss food alongside the word ‘cheap’ in this case it has to be done. Making your own pasta will save you heaps of cash because it contains only five inexpensive ingredients. It may take you between an hour and an hour and a half to experiment with making the dough that will work in a great pasta dish but after that you’ll be able to rustle a batch up in no time AT ALL. I would also advise investing in a pasta machine , Christmas is coming up so pop one on your list. I believe this is an investment that will save you money in the long run especially if you plan on making your own pasta regularly.
To make a batch of pasta that will easily feed four -
- Sieve the strong white flour or 00 flour in to a bowl
- Add the salt
- Mix together and then make a well in the middle of the flour and salt
- Crack the egg into the middle of the well and whisk it ligghlty
- Fold the flour in to the whisked egg using a wooden spoon
- Add the olive oil and continue to mix the ingredients together
- If you can see that it is not holding together in a ball add one tablespoon of warm water
- Add another after a few moments if the mixture is still too dry to hold together
When you have formed a ball of dough with the ingredients it is time to knead it. If you have a kitchen mixer you should use the dough hook on a medium speed for about 6 to eight minutes. If you do not have a mixer then work on a clean lightly floured surface. Pushing the dough away from you with the heel of your hand, fold it back over the top towards you and repeat the process. You may have to do this for about ten to fifteen minutes until the dough feels stretchy as opposed to sticky, which it will do at the start of the process.
At this time you can cover the dough and allow it to rest for thirty minutes on the side if you wish but I experimented with allowing the dough to rest and not allowing it to rest and both batches turned out well enough.
Once you have your ball of dough begin to put it through the pasta machine. If you do not have a machine then you can use a rolling pin. This will work well but you may need to take a little longer to get the right thickness with the pasta. I can’t recommend a pasta machine highly enough. Begin by putting the dough through the widest setting on the machine five to six times. This kneads the dough a little bit more. After that, change the setting on the machine so that the space between the rollers gets narrower and narrower. Put the dough through the machine on the narrower settings.
As the dough gets thinner it will also get onger. So cut it in half when it gets too long to manage and work with two separate pieces.
Once you have run the dough through the narrowest setting on the machine you are ready to turn it into spaghetti. To do that simply run the dough through the spaghetti attachment on the pasta machine. These will almost always be sold with your machine but do make sure that you check that as otherwise you’ll be eating lasagna for a very long time.
And that my dear friends is day one of pasta week.
Let me tell you that I am evangelical about the benefits of making your own pasta. It tastes so FREAKING DIFFERENT to the shop bought stuff. It is so light it’s almost fluffy and THAT is why the Italians can have a pasta dish as a starter or middle course, because it is not like eating a bowl full of concrete with an hours nap required afterwards.
See you later alligators!
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