Fresh pasta. So tasty. So easy. So much better than dried pasta. This is seriously one of the best things one can make at home. All you need is an investment in a good pasta machine (sturdy and heavy duty), unless you want some serious arm workout. I bought this pasta machine when it was on sale for about AUD 40 and I haven’t looked back since. Mine came with an attachment for 2 types of pasta – spaghetti and fettuccine – and that was enough for me since those are 2 of my preferred types of pasta. The machine also has this grip thing where you can lock it onto your benchtop but my bench top was to thick/high for it. If that’s the case I just get my happy helpers to hold down the machine for me while I roll out the dough.
Another thing to remember is that you need only 2 ingredients to make fresh pasta. Yes, TWO ingredients – flour and eggs. An easy guide to this is that you need 1 large egg for every 100 grams of flour you use. One egg, 100 grams of flour. Two eggs, 200 grams of flour…you get the drill.
Here’s a step by step on how to make those darn tasty Italian noodles.
N.B. Pasta made with 100 grams of flour plus other ingredients like chicken, tomatoes, veggies…etc can feed about 2 people.
1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, put in 100 grams of flour and make a well in the centre. Add in 1 large egg in the well. Using a fork beat the egg while gradually incorporating the flour starting from the middle going to the edge of the bowl.
2. When the dough is ready to be handled using hands (you will know this when the dough becomes too stiff for the fork and the dough need not be in a ball shape), tip it onto a clean and floured surface.
3. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth. If the dough feels a bit dry sprinkle some cold water and continue kneading. The dough should feel like a playdough; soft and does not stick to your hands when handled. Then shape it into a flattened ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. Place dough in the fridge and let it rest for 30 minutes.
4. Set up your pasta machine while the dough is resting. If you plan to cook the pasta straight away ensure that you have a pot of boiling water with salt and a touch of oil ready to be used. Fresh pasta takes only 2 minutes or so to cook and as soon as they come out of the machine you can dump them straight into the pot.
5. Now the fun begins. Take the dough out of the fridge and depending on the size of your pasta machine cut the dough into smaller pieces to fit the machine. For instance, I would cut mine in half to fit the machine (pictured below) and keep the other half wrapped in plastic wrap. Sprinkle some flour on the dough before you roll it through the machine.
6. Start rolling your dough with the widest setting on the machine (mine has 7 as the widest). Do this about 3 -4 times, until you get a smooth looking, flouring the sheet of dough on both sides every time you pass it though the rollers.
7. Then roll it again using setting 6. Then setting 5. Then setting 4; all the while flouring the dough each time. The dough will become longer and harder to handle the thiner it gets. Cut it in half so you don’t overstretch some parts of the dough or accidentally rip a hole.
8. Once you’re happy with the thickness of the dough (only trial and error will tell this but I find that setting 4 gives a reasonable “bite” to the cooked pasta) it’s time to roll it through the cutters. Pass the dough through the cutter the same way you did with the rollers only this time sprinkle the surface where the cut up dough would land with flour to avoid sticking.
9. Cook the pasta in the pot of boiling water prepared in Step 4 for about 2 minutes. Pasta should be al dente and silky when you try it. Drain and run it under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Pasta is now ready to be added with other ingredients for an edible work of art.
10. Alternatively, you can place the uncooked pasta in airtight container sprinkled generously with flour and freeze it until ready to be used.