Homemade pasta is great stuff, and a game that the whole family can play. Particularly if you decide to add some food colouring.
I've been making my own for quite a while now (thanks Susan Conte
and I've settled on using semolina, rather than ordinary (fine) flour,
for most purposes where I really prefer the slightly grainier texture and the nuttier flavour,
but it might not be ideal for some dishes (like ravioli or tortellini) where a smoother more elastic dough would to be called for.
So be prepared to adapt as necessary.
Though you definitely need some
egg white to hold the pasta together, you can increase the proportion of egg yolk
for a richer (maybe tastier) pasta.
Again, adapt your recipe to the use you intend to put it.
I read about
Italy's Gualtiero Marchesi's idea for pasta with leaves in it to use for making large raviolis. Sounds like fun:
Make pasta as normal and roll it out with your pasta machine.
Next, take well washed sprigs of parsley or other leafy herbs and pinch away the stems so only the leafy crowns remain.
Cut the pasta into strips about twice as wide as the leaves,
brush one side of a strip with a little cold water, and lay down a row of leaves, separating them by about a half an inch.
Cover with a second strip and run the sandwich back through the pasta machine.
Basic homemade egg and semolina pasta recipe
The proportion is about 1 large egg to slightly less than 4 oz of semolina.
1 egg makes a surprisingly large amount of pasta, enough for 2 ordinary people,
or one fat bastard.
Substitute hard durum wheat (Farina 00) flour if you want a smoother dough.
Add relatively more egg yolk if you want a richer dough.
If you're going to add colourings or flavourings (as suggested below), particularly wet ones,
then you might need more flour, and you should probably add proportionally more egg yolks.
Try and get any additional ingredients as dry as possible.
- 1 large egg
- scant 4 oz semolina
- drizzle olive oil
- large pinch of salt
- 1 oz fresh sorrel, well washed and dried, tough stalks trimmed away
- 1 oz parsley or basil
- ½ oz toasted and finely chopped hazelnuts
- 1 teaspoon green peppercorns
- ½ oz lobster coral
- 1 teaspoon/5g squid ink
- 1 teaspoon tomato purée
- 2 oz spinach, wilted, squeezed dry
- ½ teaspoon saffron threads
- ½ oz cocoa for a chocolate pasta!
- substitute grated parmesan for half the flour
Put slightly less semolina than you will need in bowl, make a well in the centre and break in your egg
with a dribble of olive oil and a generous dose of salt.
Use a fork to beat the egg, gradually incorporating the flour and any flavourings you fancy, then work the dough with your hands
until you have a soft dough and all the semolina has been incorporated. Add more semolina as necessary.
Knead the dough on a working surface for 10 minutes or so using the heel of your palms until the dough feels slightly
elastic, then leave it to rest for 5 minutes in a covered bowl.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it's thin enough to pass through your pasta machine.
My Imperia pasta machine
does a great job rolling and cutting the dough
for linguine/fettucine on its next-to-thinnest setting.
If you aren't rich enough to own a pasta machine then you'll have to roll the dough out by hand
until it is paper thin and translucent. Then you can slice it into strips with a knife.
Hang the pasta over a clothes drying rack for 30 minutes or until you are ready to use it.
I don't think the pasta actually needs
to dry out but it doesn't do it any harm and it probably helps to stop it sticking together during cooking.
When you cook the pasta, you want to try and avoid letting it bunch up and stick together -
drop it carefully into a large pan of salted, rapidly boiling water,
and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until it is firm
but not soggy. It will cook much more quickly than dried pasta - don't overdo it, the pasta will continue to cook
after it has been drained.
Lift the cooked pasta out of the water with a spaghetti spoon (yep, this is your chance to use your spaghetti spoon!)
or a pair of wooden spoons, into a colander to drain.
You can sit the colander back over the pot and cover it with the pot's lid, but serve as soon as possible.