Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Home Made Pasta

Pasta is pretty good when bought from the shop, but have you ever tried home made pasta? Once you try it, you will never buy pasta from the shop again. The first time I tried to make home made pasta, I used a rolling pin. Good job to those Italian mamma's for doing it from dawn to dusk with nothing but their hands and muscles!

An essential tool for home made pasta is definitely a pasta machine. From here, depending on what type of pasta machine you buy, you can get attachments and accessories for all kinds of pasta. I cook a lot of fettuccine. Most pasta machines come standard with a fettuccine cutter. If you don't have any attachments, don't worry. You can still make lasagne and handkerchief pasta. You can also use an every day-to-day sharp knife to cut ribbon pasta or uneven fettuccine.

A basic rule to remember is 100g of plain flour to 1 egg and a pinch of salt. This ratio will feed one person. You can always add more flour if the dough is too wet or sticky. Even better, you can always add colour and flavour. For mother's day one year, my nephew and myself made pink pasta just for nanny. Just add a couple drop of food dye to the pasta mixture to make colourful pasta. This is awesome fun with kids.

For more grown up flavoured pasta, you can add, but not limited to, spinach (blended until purée), beetroot juice or even squid/cuttlefish ink. Squid/cuttlefish ink can be expensive. It has a faint taste of squid but not too overpowering. Basically any flavour you can think of, you can add to pasta. Just a tip, if you add more liquid, add a little bit more flour. The pasta will be over sticky and become a pain to get to that silky smooth texture of home made pasta if you don't add that extra flour.

Home made pasta doesn't triple in size like bought pasta and takes about a quarter of the time to cook. So cook it at the last minute. Don't forget, the pasta is the star of a pasta dish so don't overload it with the sauce. I have been told in the past to never put oil in the water while cooking pasta. I found that my pasta stuck together in large clumps. I was watching Masterchef one night and an Italian cook, who has been cooking for over 50 years, put olive oil in his water. I haven't looked back. I will always now put a glug of olive oil in my boiling water to help preventing the pasta sticking. When you drain your pasta, you then toss the pasta in the saucepan with the sauce and serve right away. YUM!

Serves 1 person - times the recipe by the number of people

What you need:
100g Plain Flour
1 Egg
Pinch of Salt
Water and Olive Oil - for cooking

How to:
1) Place flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and crack the egg in the middle.

2) Mix ingredients together with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together.

3) On a floured service, need the dough until it comes together in a smooth ball. If the mixture is too wet and sticky, add more flour to compensate.

4) Once the dough is in a smooth ball, wrap in plastic and set aside for about 30 minutes (I personally don't refrigerate it as it becomes hard to roll out).

5) Once rested, follow the instructions on your pasta machine to make amazing pasta.

6) Boil a large pot of water with a glug of olive oil. Slowly add your uncooked pasta and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Strain, add to sauce and serve.

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