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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pasta Making 101

No matter how much you pay for fancy dried pastas, they will never beat the home made kind, which always come out al dente. People think it's very hard to make pasta but it's not true. I learned this very easy way to make pasta when I took a culinary tour in Tuscany. I timed myself today and it took me 35 minutes of actual work time, with one hour of rest in between. And the best part is, there are only three two ingredients:

2 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
250g bread flour 

Place everything in a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like sand. At this point you'll be tempted to add water. DON'T!!

Dump everything into a large bowl and squeeze with your hand, everything will come together. You can then knead it a few times to get it into a ball shape. This part took 5 minutes.

Wrap it and let it rest for at least one hour, or up to 24 hours. 

After 1 hour, divide the dough into two equal parts so it's easy to work with. Set your pasta maker to the widest setting and push the dough into the gap while cranking the handle. It will come out all broken and wrinkly, but it's ok. Fold it in 1/3, turn 90 degrees and feed it through the pasta maker on the same setting. Keep on folding, turning, and feeding it through the machine until the dough becomes smooth. I did it four times.

Now you can decrease the setting one notch at a time and feed the dough through each setting once. Cut dough in half when it becomes too long and cumbersome to work with. This is #5 on the dial

For fettuccine I like to go down to #6 on my pasta maker. This photo shows how much the dough stretches between 5 & 6. 

After getting the thickness I want, I cut the strip in half again (so each strand is not too long), and feed it through the cutter blade to make it into fettuccine. Then they're hung up to dry. Or, you can shape each batch into a little nest and lay them flat on a tray, but you'll need to dust with LOTS of flour to make sure they don't stick.  But drying on this handy pasta drying rack I got on Amazon is much easier =o)

This part took 30 minutes and I swear I spent more time hanging the pasta onto the rack and making sure there's no overlap than feeding the dough through the pasta maker 

So here you go, pasta ready to be cooked. This recipe makes roughly 750g, about 4 large servings. If you have extra, leave on the rack until semi-dry, then freeze. Easy peasy, right? I think it took me longer to write this post than to make the pasta ;0)