Tips that Stick: How to Make Homemade Pasta
When you want to make a nice meal, pasta is one of the first options that come to mind. But this leaves you with a choice: do you use boxed pasta like you’ve done so many times in the past, or do you branch out and learn to make your own fresh noodles to give your dish that extra flair of excitement? Read below to see how you can prepare your own fresh noodles.
Mix the Dough
First, gather your ingredients. The good news about making pasta is that noodles are a very forgiving dish. If your ingredients or proportions don’t line up exactly with those listed here, you should still be be able to produce a tasty batch of noodles. Our recipe is simple: two cups of semolina flour, three large eggs, and a hefty pinch of salt. A pinch of fresh herbs like oregano or basil can add a nice flavor, but these must be cut extremely fine in order to work into the noodles.
Sift together the flour and salt in a large bowl, then shape a large well in the center of the mix. Next, crack the eggs into the well, whisking together with a fork. As the eggs begin to mix more thoroughly, pull the flour into the well steadily as you go. Continue mixing in this fashion until the flour has come together in a soft dough. At this point, turn the dough and any excess flour onto a clean counter. Knead the dough thoroughly, folding it in on itself. After a few minutes, cut into the dough with a paring knife. If you see many bubbles in the dough, knead for a few more minutes, then check again.
Rest and Roll
Once your dough is relatively free of air bubbles, place it in a dry bowl, cover with plastic wrap and walk away for about 30 minutes. Do not touch the dough during this time, the resting allows gluten to form in the noodles; giving your pasta a much nicer bite. If you don’t want to cook the pasta at the same time you’re making the dough, you can refrigerate it for up to 24 hours at this stage.
Once your dough has rested for thirty minutes, divide it into about four portions and set three of them out, covered with a damp towel. Take the fourth portion and feed it through your pasta machine on the thickest setting. Fold the resulting disk of dough into itself in roughly thirds, then feed it through again. Doing so will give your dough a heartier texture. Finally, begin feeding your dough through the machine on successively thinner settings taking care to pass it through the machine two to three times on each setting. Once your dough has reached the desired thinness, switch from the rolling attachment to the cutting attachment on your pasta machine and slice the noodle to the desired width.
Cook or Store
Once your noodles are cut, most of the work is done! If you want to cook them immediately, put the noodles in a hefty amount of boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes until al dente. To store your noodles, you can freeze or dry them. To dry, hang the noodles over a hanger or on a pasta rack to dry until stiff. Noodles can be frozen in basket shapes or by being laid out on a baking sheet in long strips. Either way, your noodles will keep for about two to three months. Stored noodles will need an extra minute or two to cook.
For an easier time mixing the dough together, you can put all of the ingredients in a food processor. Using short pulses, combine the ingredients then run the processor continuously until the dough comes together in a smooth mixture. Then continue the recipe at the kneading step.
Don’t have a pasta machine? Don’t fret. You can still make your noodles using a rolling pin and a knife. If you’re going to go this route, be sure to move your dough often to keep it from sticking. It can be difficult to get the dough properly thin, so when in doubt, roll it out. Once your dough is sufficiently thin, slice it into long strips with a very sharp chef’s knife and cook or store it as you desire.
Learn How to Make Pasta at Casual Gourmet
If making your own noodles appeals to you, you would probably love to learn more advanced cooking techniques. Casual Gourmet offers cooking classes taught through a professional culinary school, but designed for the cook at home. Explore our website to find out more about classes offered in the near future as well as more information about our culinary school that puts them on.
Great lesson last night! Food for ThoughtPrinciples of cooking with Heat with Chef Douglas Cooperman
Posted by Princess Lipscomb on Wednesday, September 16, 2015
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