Homemade Pasta Dough
Making your own pasta is a lot easier than most people think, pasta can be either mixed by hand or in a blender and both methods give good results. Once you've had a couple of tries it will become second nature to make and once you can make it successfully there is an endless array of pasta types you can make by hand -
- flat pasta - Fettucine, Taglietelle, Spaghettini, etc
- short pasta - Cavatelli, Farfalle, Orecchieti, etc
- stuffed pasta - Raviolli, Cappeletti, Pansotti, etc
- flavoured pasta - Beetroot, Spinach, Squid Ink, etc
(for more information on pasta shapes visit http://www.geometryofpasta.co.uk/index.php ).
Here are a couple of useful pointers when making your own fresh pasta dough -
- Eggs - should be good quality, preferably organic
- Flour - must be Tipo 00 pasta flour
- Never add oil or salt to pasta dough, all it will do is discolour the dough
Pasta can be made without a pasta machine but its very difficult to get the dough thin enough for most pasta shapes.
350g tipo 00 pasta flour
2 large eggs
6 large egg yolks
By hand. Sieve flour out into a mound on a work surface, make a small well with your finger and the place the eggs and egg yolks into the centre. Using your fingers slowly bring the flour into the eggs in a circular motion and keep doing so until a dough begins to form, then use hands to knead to a smooth elastic dough. Cover with cling film and rest in the fridge, preferably overnight but at least for an hour.
With a food mixer. Place all ingredients in a food mixer and blend to a dough. Cover with cling film and rest in the fridge, preferably overnight but at least for an hour.
Proving or Rolling Dough
Remove dough from fridge and unwrap and allow to warm up slowly. Set the rollers of your pasta machine to the widest setting. Divide dough and into two and flatten slightly by hand, then pass through the pasta machine, then fold it into three. Turn the dough round and pass through again and repeat this process 5 or 6 times to prove the gluten's in the dough and increase its elasticity. Roll through the machine four times, steadily reducing the setting of the rollers to their thinnest setting. Once the dough is as thin as you feel comfortable, cut it into manageable lengths.
Cutting the Dough
Pass the pieces of pasta dough through the tagliatelle setting on your pasta machine. Place tagliatelle in a tray, sprinkle with a little flour to prevent sticking and allow to dry for at least 12 hours.
If you have a drying rack you can drape the tagliatelle over the arms and leave to dry for 12 hours.
Cooking Fresh Pasta
Fresh pasta is cooked in much the same way as dried packet pasta . Pasta should always be cooked in plenty of boiling salted water to prevent it clumping 400g of dried pasta or 250g of fresh will need at least 4 litres of boiling water. Fresh pasta will cook quicker than dried, usually in about 6 to 8 minutes.