There is little which is as rewarding as eating pasta made by your own fair hands. It really isn’t that difficult – just a little time and patience will reward you with some of the finest pasta you have ever eaten.
A great task for a leisurely weekend in the kitchen and for getting the family involved – this recipe for fresh egg pasta is the foundation for a bounty of dishes. You will no longer be restrained to the select few shapes stocked in the shops – once rolled, the pasta can be cut into any shape or size giving you complete culinary freedom!
Tipo (00) flour is the key to great pasta. Very finely milled and sieved, it is used widely in Italy for both pasta and cakes and getting your hands on some shouldn’t be an issue. It is also essential that you use the freshest of eggs. For reasons unknown to me fresh eggs make the silkiest and most elastic pasta – two qualities you most definitely desire.
Ignore assertions that you don’t in fact need a pasta machine and you can easily do it all by hand. You can indeed do the entire process by hand, but I assure you it will be the last time you bother making your own pasta. There is no need to invest in expensive kit, my simple roller and cutter cost me less than £10 and does a superb job. A pasta machine not only makes the job far easier, it also makes for better tasting pasta.
Once rolled and cut, the pasta can be either cooked straight away or dried and cooked later. To dry in the traditional way fold your cut pasta over a drying rack (see photo) or coat-hanger and place in a cool, dry room for a few hours or overnight until dried. Once dried store in air tight containers. It is also possible to place fresh pasta straight into the freezer in freezer bags, this pasta may then be cooked from frozen.
400g Tipo (00) Flour
4 Large Free Range Eggs (Beaten)
1) Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a deep well in the centre. Add the beaten eggs to the well. Use the tips of your fingers to slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs. Continue to combine until the mixture is fully combined. Knead the dough together until you have one large lump of dough and no stray flour in the bowl.
2) The dough now needs to be kneaded. This stage is crucial to achieving silky smooth pasta. Place the dough on a large chopping board or on the table and knead with the palm of your hand as you would bread dough – stretching the dough away from you then bringing it back into itself. Knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is very smooth and elastic. Wrap the dough in cling-film and transfer to the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
3) To roll your pasta (with a machine): Clamp the machine to your table or workbench – leaving plenty of room either side of the machine. Dust the work surface lightly with 00 flour. Divide the dough into 3 equal pieces and follow the following instructions for each piece:
Dust the dough lightly with flour. Pass through the widest setting on the machine. Fold the pasta in half and pass through the widest setting again. Repeat another 2 times. Pass the pasta through the next widest setting on the machine twice. Continue to do this, reducing the width by one stage after the second roll, until the pasta is at the desired thickness.
4) Your pasta is now ready to cut. Cut tagliatelle etc on the pasta machine using the cutting attachment or by hand. Other shapes can be cut by hand and ravioli can be made from the lengths of pasta sheet – folded in half over the filling.