Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Roll Out The Roller

Here is a recipe for the food enthusiast: home made pasta. I don't make this too often anymore because I find that it doesn't really have a good pay-off. You don't save much money, it requires work and patience and the final product, though may be good, isn't always better than something you can buy. Let's face it; purchasing dried pasta is cheap and, unless you have difficulty boiling water, cooking pasta is the simplest thing to do in the kitchen. Besides, you can purchase fresh pasta and many major grocers (though it is usually way overpriced).

Pasta is flour, eggs, salt and olive oil. That's it. No magic. No secret. No Strega Nona required to cook the pasta. Just some adventurousness, enthusiasm and curiosity.

I would make fresh pasta if I was interested in experimenting with a filling for ravioli or agnolotti; perhaps I would make it for canelloni or manicotti but other than that, I would have to be in the mood. Fresh tagliatelle is quite good but someone would have to request it for me to make it.

So there it is; my take on fresh pasta. If you've always wanted to use your pasta machine you got as a gift for your wedding, try this very simple recipe and impress your spouse this weekend.

One last paragraph on cooking pasta. When cooking dried pasta, use a tall pot, lots of water and enough salt in the water to give the water a slight (not overpowering) salty taste. With fresh pasta you can add a little oil to the water if you want; when cooking fresh pasta the starch from the pasta bleeds fairly easily. A little oil hinders the water reaching a rapid boil and prevents the starch from boiling over the sides of the pot.

Fresh Pasta

350 g All Purpose Flour
5 Eggs
10 ml Olive Oil
Pinch Of Salt

Make a mound with flour and create a well in the centre of the mound. Add all ingredients in to the well and stir with a fork. Once eggs are beaten, use hands to knead the dough. If flour is sticky, add more flour a little at a time. Knead thoroughly. Exercise your arms for fifteen more minutes then cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Give arms a rest.

Now the tricky part. Rolling out the dough flat enough to cut and use. If you have a pasta roller, then it's easy. Use the machine following manufacturer's directions (sounds like a cop out, but it's not really, believe me) and cut into desired shapes. If you rolling out with a rolling pin, keep flouring your surface and flatten to desired thickness or until frustrated.

Makes 600 g.

Variation: So you've done it! You've made fresh pasta for your loved ones. I hope they appreciated the work you've put in it. Now, you've done it and you want to make it different to show how creative you are. Well, change the colour of the pasta with either spinach or red pepper puree and really impress your guests. I would be surprised if anybody were to actually try making this so I won't be expecting any comments. I would like to be proven wrong.

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