The problem with making your own foods is that you regularly discover new things and you realize you can never go back to the package or prepared version. Salsa, guacamole and hummus from scratch beat any store-bought I’ve tried. Homemade corn and flour tortillas will change your world. And making your own pasta results in something that can barely be described in words.
I’d be lying if I said I no longer use dry pasta, but sitting down to a bowl of it does trigger some feelings of disappointment. The texture, flavor and even the look of homemade pasta is worth getting excited over.
I do shy away from making it from time to time because it feels like too much work, but each and every time I follow through, it’s completely worth it.
Ever since I made Hearty Tomato, Kale and Mushroom Sauce I’ve been meaning to do a pasta post. As you can tell, I’m not a step-by-step blogger. This is mostly because I’m not a step-by-step cook. But it’s also because a step-by-step post requires the perfect marriage of a well lit kitchen with the time to stop and photography each step. I rarely have both.
A few weekends ago, I had daylight in the kitchen and the time so I finally documented my pasta making. I was reminded again how much I love this stuff!
Notice that this is a beginner guide. Very, very beginner. I’m still learning, and at times my noodles can be down right ugly. But they still taste good.
- Be patient. Dough gets stuck, it stretches out. Try, try again.
- If you don’t have an electric pasta attachment, get a helper. I’ve made it with a manual machine by myself before and it’s doable, but tough.
- Most books will tell you to avoid flouring the dough too much because it makes it gummy after cooking. I try to limit it, but still find I need to flour to keep it from sticking to the table and the machine.
- Don’t be a perfectionist. Ugly noodles taste good, too.
- You don’t have to have a pasta dryer. You can lay the pasta out flat to dry. But I like hanging it on a dryer.
Pasta dough is simple. Just about every recipe is flour and egg.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until it is smooth, about 2 minutes. Cover in a sheet of plastic wrap or a damp towel and let rest for 15 minutes.
Cut the dough into six equal pieces. Roll those pieces into a ball and flattened into an oval. It’s ready for pressing.
Don’t stir the pasta right away to keep from breaking it up. After it has cooked about 2 minutes and it’s almost done, I use tongs to separate it a bit and make sure all of it has been sufficiently dunked in the water. The pasta should be done in 3-4 minutes.
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