Sep/Oct
2013

How to: Basic Homemade Pasta

Written by Margo Stich
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how-to-make-basic-homemade-pasta

Calling for simple ingredients and a handful of specific kitchen tools, making pasta at home has never been easier, more fun or more delicious.

BASIC PASTA NOODLES

2 ¼ cup semolina flour
2 eggs
½ cup water (approximately)


Equipment required:
Heavy duty mixer
Dough hook
Cutting tool
Wood cutting board
Rolling pin
Drying rack


1) Measure the semolina into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add eggs.*

2) Beat until mixture begins to form moist crumbs then just begins to come together, drizzling in the water a bit at a time.

3) Continue beating until the dough is a coarse crumb consistency or what Jodeen Wink refers to as “large curd texture.”

4) Switch over to the dough hook. Continue beating until dough comes away cleanly from the side of the bowl forming a single mass.

5) Using both hands, pick up the dough; pack to a rounded ball; transfer to a wooden surface dusted with a thin layer of semolina.

6) Knead a couple times if necessary; cut into fourths.

7) Roll each into a ball then roll flat using a rolling pin. Bear in mind it’s the mixer attachment or the hand-crank machine which will do most of the rolling. At this stage rolling is meant simply to get the dough thin enough so that it won’t be hard on the machine.

8) Cut the dough to specified lengths before feeding through the machine.

9) Feed dough through a mechanical pasta sheeter, either a hand-cranked or electric unit with attachment. For the first feed, set rollers at a thicker spacing and run the pasta through. For the second feed, adjust rollers to almost touching and run the pasta through again.

10) Change attachment to cutting blade then feed flattened dough through to cut into strips (dough stretches as it dries so cut strips shorter than you want).

11) a: Hang strips to dry; air-dry until all surfaces are no longer moist before packaging or freezing.
b: Alternate to hanging: lay strips flat on a clean, floured cloth being sure strands aren’t touching.

*Moisture is critical when making fresh pasta. Ambient temperature, humidity and egg size impact dough formation. The higher the moisture ratio in your final dough, the more brittle the final pasta will be.


Kari Dunn’s “rule of thumb” for cooking pasta:
Using the largest pot you have, boil plain pasta in water with a bit of oil; boil herbed pastas in water liberally sprinkled with sea salt. Separate strands well as you add them to the boiling water. Once water returns to a boil, cook 5 minutes for fresh pasta and 12 to 15 minutes for dried fresh pasta.


Making Artisan Pasta:

How to Make a World of Handmade Noodles, Stuffed Pasta, Dumplings, and More

Aliza Green, Quarry Books, 2012, $24.99 (pbk.)

There is no need to settle for store boxed pasta when your next pasta craving strikes. In her recently released cookbook, “Making Artisan Pasta,” Aliza Green provides a comprehensive, user-friendly guide to mastering the art of making noodles, ravioli, lasagna and more.

Green begins with tips for selecting the best ingredients then takes the reader through various mixing and rolling methods, different flours and a variety of flavored dough. In the pages that follow, she prepares three dozen dishes in a step-by-step manner with accompanying illustrations throughout.

Though most of the techniques she presents come from Italy—including chapters on hand-formed pastas like cavateilli and stuffed pasta—Green also explores dishes from Poland (pierogi), Greece (trahana) and China (pot stickers). With brilliant photography that profiles each dish and style of noodle, this inspirational book is one that all pasta lovers should have on their shelf.

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