Saturday, March 3, 2012

Basta Pasta: Homemade Pasta

There's nothing quite as satisfying as homemade pasta. It's texture is soft and creamy, and with a beautiful alfredo, bolognese, or pesto, it's perfection. Lasagna will never be the same.

Justin and I developed an addiction for the stuff in Rome when we ordered primi (first courses) of artichoke lasagna or tagliatelle with wild boar ragu. It's taken me a couple years to master the process and find the perfect combination of ingredients. Now I'm going to share the secret — this isn't necessarily for beginner cooks, but trust me, if you can tackle this, you have a wealth of possibilities to expand your gastronomic repertoire.

I call this post "basta pasta" because "basta" means enough … and you'll invariably eat too much of this stuff.

Basic Pasta Dough
2 cups white flour + a bit more for rolling (you can use wheat flour or semolina flour too, but you'll have to adjust your wet ingredients)
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 tbsp white wine (use something light like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvingon Blanc)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
Optional ingredients: dash of black pepper, lemon zest, or other spices)
For whole wheat pasta dough: Use 2.75 cups white flour and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour. This will give the pasta a richer, whole wheat flavor and texture without messing with the integrity of the pasta. You may have to add a bit more wine or olive oil to compensate.

Special Equipment
Pasta roller
Pasta drying rack (optional)

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. This is a lot easier than what some recipes say, to create a mound on flat surface. This recipe gets messy, so you'll want to contain it!

Make a "well" in the middle of the flour mixture, and add your eggs, wine, and olive oil.

Use a fork to start gently breaking apart the eggs and scrambling them together with the flour. Do this a little at a time, slowly incorporating the dough.

This will take some patience, and may seem at first like you'll need more liquid. Just keep at it. When the dough starts to come together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.

This is where the tactile-filled fun comes in. We knead the dough by smashing it away from you, folding it over, and smushing it (that's a technical term) over and over again.

Look, here's a demo:

After a good five minutes of kneading, your dough will become silky and supple, like this:

It kind of feels like Play Doh. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. When you're ready, get your pasta roller assembled.

We stole this one from Justin's parent's house (shh.)

Cut your dough out into 4 equal wedges. You'll need a bit of flour to roll out the dough to keep it from sticking to your machine.

Take a quarter, squish it until it's a small disc.

Put your roller to the first widest setting. Roll your dough.

Keep rolling your dough through each setting, getting narrower and thinner as it goes. Don't pull on your dough; guide it gently through the machine.

Be sure to dust your sheets of dough with flour every few settings so that the dough doesn't stick to itself or the roller.

When you get to the thinnest (or second to last thinnest — I like to end on setting "6"), dust it with flour again. Now you're going to roll it through the pasta cutter side.

You can practically see through it! 

Beautiful strands of deliciousness. 

Separate the strands, dust them with more flour, and either let them hang out on a dry cutting board, or on your handy dandy pasta drying rack. This one was a birthday present from my husband.

You'll only need to boil these babies for a minute. Then toss them in your favorite sauce and enjoy.

Darla likes to lick up the flour from the floor. She's a strange creature.


1 comment:

  1. Wow! A feast in the making from the most beautiful and talented chef I know! I can wait to try the recipe!


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