Sunday, March 1, 2015

Homemade Pasta - it's like music to my mouth!

Music played on a Chitarra (translation guitar) that is. That is my lovely instrument below that my equally lovely friend Carolyn brought back for me (and one for herself) from her trip to Rome in December. And this thing is not small! I couldn't believe it when she walked into my house with such a big box - Carolyn you are "double tuff" carrying not one but two of them back on the plane! Either that or crazy - as she also has 4 kids! Anyway, homemade pasta is pretty easy to make - but as you can see lots of equipment is needed. Okay, you don't need a chitarra but it sure is fun to have. What you do need (and I guess you could do it all by hand as I'm sure Italian grandmothers have been doing it that way for centuries) is a food processor and a pasta machine - this rolls it into thin sheets - pictured below and can also cut it. For the chitarra you lay the medium thickness sheet on the strings - wires tightly strung across the board and then with a rolling pen you press them through to cut them into long spaghetti-length noodles that are square rather than round. The magic happens when to unstick the pasta you run your finger across the wires - it really is like music! And let me say this is the only kind of music I make! Anyway - here is a basic pasta dough recipe - I promise it is a lot of work but worth the effort once you have all the equipment. Oh, final note - once you have made the pasta either use right away or freeze it cut and tossed with some semolina flour into nests - as Carolyn and I found out the first time we made it - it turns grey in the fridge - yuck. I guess you could dry it - but then you are defeating the purpose of fresh pasta if you ask me. 

Fresh Egg Pasta Dough per person

100 grams "00" flour (available at specialty stores) or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 egg
salt (for cooking water)
(about 3 eggs to 2 cups flour is good for 4)

Obviously don't make this just for one serving as it freezes really well - but this is just the basic measurement. Put the eggs and flour in a food processor and whiz it up until it kind of rumbles in the bowl - you want it to come together but not be sticky. You may need to add more flour - it's a bit of guess work. Turn the bowl out and work it together into a round - refrigerate covered in plastic wrap for about 30 min.  Roll through your machine until desired thickness and then cut and toss with a little semolina flour. Cook right away in boiling salted water for just a couple min or freeze in a ziploc in little nests. If you are trying this you bought the Atlas machine - so follow the instructions on putting it through. This is just so you have the basic premise. Enjoy!

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