How To Make Fresh Pasta
With pasta being a popular food choice these days, why not have a go at making your own egg pasta? It’s not too difficult to make and it tastes a lot better than shop bought pasta. This easy to follow recipe will help you to produce your own tasty homemade egg pasta.
Making Your Own Fresh Pasta
Fresh pasta is a popular food choice these days as it’s quick and easy to cook and ideal for our busy lifestyles. Fresh pasta comes in a variety of shapes and types from white and wholegrain to multi coloured. The different coloured pasta is produced with the addition of different food purées, like beetroot, tomatoes, carrot, spinach and even squid ink!
Is It Worth Making?
Homemade pasta cannot be compared to shop bought, it tastes so much better and really is a lot easier to make than people think. I always get a sense of satisfaction when I have made my own pasta and I find it a form of therapy too!!
Fresh pasta freezes nicely, so if you make more than you need, you can always freeze the extra before cooking it.
How To Make Fresh Pasta
Ingredients for four main meals:
- 400gr. plain white flour or for a better textured pasta substitute roughly one third of the flour for fine semolina flour. You can get pasta flours type “00”, but if you can’t then your everyday plain flour works fine. You could even use a whole grain flour if you prefer.
- 4 eggs.
- A good tablespoon of olive oil.
- Extra flour for kneading and rolling.
- A pasta machine.
Get your ingredients together:
Take your flour or flour and semolina mix, eggs and olive oil and put them all together in a large bowl, then combine them using an electric mixer. You can use your hands if you don’t have a mixer, but personally I recommend using a mixer for this part to cut back on mess.
Mix the flour, eggs, semolina and olive oil in a bowl
Once the ingredients are combined, empty the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it for a few minutes. You want to be quite rough as the kneading gets the gluten in the flour nice and worked up, which makes for a nice and elastic pasta dough.
Once you have finished kneading your dough, shape it into a nice ball and then cover in plastic or place in a plastic bag to prevent it from drying out. Then leave it for at least half an hour in a cool place to allow the pasta to rest. You could place it in the fridge, but I prefer to leave mine out as I find it easier to work with the pasta dough at a cool room temperature.
Securely attach your pasta machine to a table or work surface.
Divide your pasta dough ball into three or four smaller balls to make it easier to handle when you roll it. As you roll the dough it will become long and thin, so the smaller the dough balls the more manageable the pasta sheets will be.
Make sure your pasta rollers are set on their widest setting to start with and well floured. Flatten a pasta dough ball slightly with your hands and then gently feed it through the rollers turning the handle slowly and steadily.
Once you’ve done that, continue to pass the pasta sheet through the rollers, but now you adjust your roller setting each time closing the gap, so your sheet will get thinner with each rolling, still keeping them lightly floured to prevent the pasta dough from sticking.
Once your pasta sheet is the thickness you would like; I usually roll mine to the second thinnest setting on my machine as I find this makes it easier to handle and makes for a nice thickness when making tagliatelli and spaghetti. Allow it to rest uncovered on a work surface for five minutes or so, this allows the pasta sheet to dry out slightly making it less likely to stick together when running it through the cutting rollers.
If you don’t want to cut your pasta and want to use it as sheets in a lasagne or as cannelloni, then your pasta is now ready to use.
If you would like to turn your pasta sheet into tagliatelle or spaghetti make sure your pasta machine is set up with the cutters of your choice and that they are lightly floured. Then gently feed your pasta sheet through the cutters, turning the handle slowly and steadily. Hey presto!! You’ve now made your own tagliatelle or spaghetti!!
If you do find that your pasta is sticking together slightly just sprinkle lightly with flour and work through gently.
Now you’ve successfully made your fresh pasta, all you have to do is cook it. You don’t want to ruin all your hard work by over cooking your pasta and turning it to stodge. Follow these instructions and you shouldn’t go wrong:
- Bring a large saucepan of salted water to boil – I always add some olive oil to the water too as it helps prevent the pasta from sticking. You don’t have to use olive oil any cooking oil will do.
- When your water is boiling, pick up your pile of pasta using both hands and carefully lower it into the boiling water. It will sink to the bottom of the pan. Do not cover the pan at this point as it would cause the pasta water to over boil – a mess than can be avoided!!
- If you watch your pasta, after two or three minutes, depending on how thick your pasta is, it will float to the top indicating that it is cooked. Be careful not to over cook it!!
- Your tagliatelle or spaghetti is now ready to be drained and served with a topping or sauce of your choice.
- Stand back and appreciate your hard work before tucking in and enjoying your homemade fresh pasta.
Caring for your pasta machine
Taking care of your pasta machine properly is paramount and it is so easy. NEVER wash your pasta machine as this can cause any painted parts to flake or rust, leaving particles in your pasta. I learned this the hard way!!
All I do now is give my pasta machine a thorough brush over with a clean, dry pastry brush that I keep solely for the purpose. Making sure it is as flour and pasta free as it can be, then I just pop it back into it’s box until I need it next time.
Before I start rolling my pasta I take a small piece of my pasta dough and run it through the rollers to collect any dry bits of pasta that may have been left from the last time I used the machine. I then discard the bit of dough.
© 2014 – 2016, Debbie. All rights reserved.