Friday, December 01, 2006

Homemade Pasta

A few Sundays ago we had a fun time making homemade pasta as a family. Growing up, I remember making big noodles, cranking sheets of dough through the pasta machine, cutting them into thick, wide noodles and hanging them on the broom handle to dry. My mom put them in chicken noodle soup and they were so good. When we lived in Santa Clara there was an older woman who gave a demonstration at church on rolling and cutting noodles by hand. I'm not sure what culture this came from but they would eat them over mashed potatoes. She talked about it as if it was commonplace but I thought it very strange. She told a story about cutting the noodles for the family dinner at her mother-in-law's house as a newlywed. Her mother-in-law watched very carefully to make sure she would make the noodles thin and even. Apparently this was a must have quality for a young bride in Santa Clara. She did, and gained the respect of her new mother-in-law through noodles.

A few years back, Josh bought me a pasta maker for some event, birthday or Christmas or something and I have to say I wasn't thrilled. But I do love pulling it out every now and again and cranking out some fresh pasta. It really is so much better than dried. The whole process took about 45-1 hr. but we skipped all the waiting time in between kneading and rolling. Getting the dough just right, smooth and silky has been my challenge. This time we mixed in a food processor, then kneaded and had the best results yet. The kids liked kneading, cranking and feeding the dough through the machine. We made thin fettuccine and a slightly thicker spaghetti (wait, it's not spaghetti because it was flat, what is that called? Maybe linguine.). Josh made a killer tomato sauce. It was chunky and spicy. I made a cheese sauce with Parmesan and sharp white cheddar. The whole meal was super yum!

Go to this page and scroll down to see a "glossary of pasta shapes." Go here to buy a pasta machine.

Fresh Egg Pasta (from Lidia's Italian-American Kitchen)
3 c. flour
4 eggs
1 t. olive oil
1/2 t. salt

Spoon 2 2/3 c. of flour into food processor with metal blade. Beat the eggs, olive oil and salt together in a small bowl. With motor running, pour the egg mixture into the feed tube. Process until the ingredients form a rough and slightly sticky dough. If the mixture is too dry, drizzle a very small amount of warm water into the feed tube and continue processing. Scrape the dough out of the work bowl onto a lightly floured wooden or marble surface.

Knead the dough 5-10 minutes. Flour the work surface and your hands lightly anytime the dough begins to stick while you're kneading. Roll into a smooth ball and place in small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest for 1 hour. (I skipped the resting.)

Cut dough into 6 equal pieces. Shape into rectangle. Roll through pasta machine on largest setting. Fold in half and roll again, repeat with remaining pieces of dough. Flour them if needed to keep from sticking to rollers. Continue rolling pieces of dough, decreasing in width by 1 each time until all the pieces of dough have been passed through the next to thinnest setting. Keep the pieces of dough that aren't being rolled covered with a towel. Let rest 30 minutes. (Skipped this resting too).

Cut by hand or through blade on pasta machine. Cook in salted boiling water for about 5 minutes.


rachel said...

You make me want to go out and buy a pasta maker.

Elizabeth said...

What is your cheese sauce recipe? I had forgotten about our old homemade pasta - but those were some good times. Then again, it did seem like a lot of work for little payoff.

Lindsey said...

Wow. I'm totally impressed. That is something that I have always wanted to do, but it scares me.