Stop buying bland and uninspiring dried pasta and start making fresh home-made pasta today!
Cheap and cheerful
Jon and I eat a lot of pasta, and I mean a lot. Because we eat so much of it we often buy the incredibly cheap, dried, supermarket own brand variety and whilst its filling and kind on the old purse strings, it leaves a lot to be desired in the flavours stakes!
We did go through a patch of buying fresh pasta from the supermarket but its double the price and, in terms of flavour, really isn’t a lot to write home about. So, when I was doing a clear out of my cupboards back at the start of the year and I came across my old pasta machine I knew I had to make my own.
It’s an incredibly easy process. The recipe can be scaled up to make a large batch in one go. Plus, home-made fresh pasta can be frozen so that you always have a supply on hand. Can someone remind me why I was buying the horrible dried stuff again?!
I’ve since tried to get into the habit of making fresh pasta on a Sunday. It will then be Monday night’s dinner with any left being used for lunches.
Making pasta shapes
More often than not we use our pasta machine to make long thin noodles, a bit like tagliatelle. Sometimes we will keep the sheets whole and use them for a lasagne. If I’m feeling really fancy we might even make raviolli.
The following pasta shapes can be made by hand. Over the years we’ve given them all a go and some are certainly easier than other. For convenience we stick to what the pasta machine does best but these are worth a try if you’re up for some experimentation!
Orecchiette (little ears)
Once you’ve made the dough, roll into long sausages (about 1/2 an inch wide). Cut small pieces from the sausage (roughly 1/2 an inch long). Flour your hands and place a piece of pasta into the centre of your palm, press a finger into the centre to create a domed disk of pasta.
Roll out thin sheets then cut into rectangles roughly 1 inch by 2 inches wide. Dab a little water down the middle of the square and pinch the top and bottom together to make that distinctive bow-tie shape.
Fusilli (pasta twists)
Roll out thin sheets of pasta then cut into thin strips. Wrap each strip around the end of a wooden spoon which has been coated in flour. Gently pull the strips off the spoon, ensuring the twist stays in tact. Leave to dry before cooking.
Once you’ve rolled out thin sheets, cut strips roughly 3/4inch wide.
- 140 grams Italian '00' flour
- 1 egg whole
- 1 egg yolk
Create a mound of flour on a clean worktop or simillar surface.
Make a well in the middle and add the egg and egg yolk.
Using your hand, mix the egg, slowly bringing in flour from the sides of the well until all the flour has been incorporated.
Knead the mix and bring into the shape of a ball.
Knead it well until it becomes stiff and harder to knead.
Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in a cool place for 1 hour before using.
To roll out the dough, cut the dough into 2 pieces.
Flatten each piece with a rolling pin to just a few milimetres thick.
Fold the dough in half and feed throgh your pasta machine on its widest setting.
Do this 7 times until you have a uniform long, rectangular strip that has started to become shiny.
Repeat the above steps with the second piece of dough.
Pass the dough through the rollers decreasing the roller setting down a notch each time until you are at the thinnest setting.
You can now choose to leave in sheets for lasagne or ravioli or cut into pasta shapes and noodles.
Cooking the pasta from fresh should take no more than
What's Italian '00' flour?
00 flour is a special, super fine flour used for making pasta. But don't worry if you don't have it, regular plain flour will do.
Take a shortcut
If you don't want to get messy you can make the dough in a food processor. Place the flour in a food processor and pulse it. Add the egg and yolk and whizz on a medium setting until the mixture starts to come together into a ball. Then knead as per the isntructions above.
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