I'm not going to be modest about this. Today I made HANDMADE pasta. It is indeed HANDMADE because I MADE IT. With my own hands. From SCRATCH.
You cannot GET any more 'handmade' than this. Not only is this homemade (as opposed to buying fresh pasta from a store), I don't even have a pasta machine. I DO, however, have an electronic stand-mixer with a dough-hook. At the time, I chose not to use it because a) I wanted the satisfaction of doing everything by myself and b) I completely underestimated how difficult it would be to kneed the dough.
Word of warning: if my post somehow entices you to give it a go, it is hard work. I thoroughly regret going ahead with this without the boy around.
Aside from all the doom-and-gloom though, I do have some advice/encouragement:
1. I personally am much weaker than the average female individual. Just because I thought this was super laborious, it doesn't mean you will. In all fairness, Jamie Oliver also made a reference to how strong Italian grandmothers get from kneading pasta dough (in his book "Cook with Jamie"), so... you never know.
2. This is feel-good cooking at its best. Aside from the obvious therapeutic benefit of pounding the living daylights out of a lump of dough, you also get a fabulous punch-the-air feeling at the end when you have darling threads of pasta tumbling through your fingers. It's worth it for that sense of achievement alone.
Makes - however much you want (as a rule 1 egg leads to pasta for 1-2 people)
- 1 egg
- 100g Italian Tipo 00 flour
1) In a bowl, combine the egg and flour. I tried to be pro and made a mound of flour into which I cracked the egg. Not that I've tried the bowl method (since this is my first attempt) but I imagine it to be less messy.Very pretty
2) Once you have a uniform ball, plop it onto a well-floured surface and knead away.
3) Keep kneading. Nigella recommends pushing the dough away from you with your palms and bringing it back. Repeat.
4) Keeeeeepppppp kneaaadding. Jamie also suggests pulling and stretching the dough.
5) You're done when the dough is smooth and silky rather than rough, sticky and tattered. I didn't think I knew what that meant... I did actually feel a change in the consistency of my dough and I pretty much stopped there, unable to go on. My pasta was a bit on the chewy side so I'm not sure if that's because I didn't knead it enough. Probably.6. Once the dough is ready, wrap it up in cling-wrap and pop it in the fridge for 30min-1hr.
7. Remove from the fridge and start rolling it out. It's recommended you use a pasta machine for this (in which case, you'll follow the instructions for your pasta machine). Like I said, I didn't have one so I did it old-school with rolling pin.
8. Flour the bench and your rolling pin. Roll away. Once I got to a certain 'thinness', I floured my dough and folded it over and rolled that... in effect, I was rolling 2 parts in one go. I then unfolded and evened things out, floured, refolded and rolled again.
If that doesn't make sense to you - refer to the photo below.
As long as you keep your layers nicely floured to prevent sticking together, it's a good way to get thin layers fast. This inability to roll thin sheets properly (without the aid of a machine) could be another reason why my pasta turned out chewy so follow my advice with caution.
Thin as I could get without pulling a muscle :)
9. Once you got a nice thin sheet, flour and fold again. Using a very sharp knife, cut the sheet into strips. The thickness of the strips determines your 'type' of pasta. I didn't bother to measure but my strips are thick so I'm going to call it tagliatelle. You can, of course, chose not to cut and instead make ravioli or use your sheets lasagna-style.
I was so happy once I finished making my pasta that I whipped up the quickest 'sauce' I could devise in order to devour the whole lot asap.
Barely a sauce at all, what I did was infuse some A-class olive oil (my good stuff) with crushed garlic (do it over medium-high heat) and tossed through some: parsley, black olives, anchovy, pine nuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
I boiled my fresh pasta in salted water for about 2min (doesn't take long) and drained thoroughly before throwing the lot into the hot, flavored oil.
After plating, I grated some fresh parmesan over the top and it was all good.
All in all my pasta wasn't bad and I'm pleased I got through the whole process. As I pointed out before, it was a bit tough and chewy. I hope I'll be able to figure out what I did wrong because as much as I've complained about it, pasta-making is indeed very rewarding.