“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” Federico Fellini

Has anyone ever made you pasta from scratch? Not the sauce, but the actual starchy deliciousness of homemade noodles? I believe that this is a true labour of love, not because of the price involved which is minimal, but because it would be so much less effort simply snipping open a packet of store bought pasta. But the taste and texture of home made pasta makes every step in the preparation worth it.

The Ferrari

A few years ago, my husband bought me an inexpensive pasta machine. It was one sold at a major retailer under their own brand name. after returning two of these machines, because they simply couldn’t last more than one round of pasta preparation, my fantastic husband bought, what to me is now known as the “Ferrari of pasta machines”. Not only because of its beautiful glossy red finish, but because it allowed me to whip up huge batches of pasta with barely any effort. Even my kids get involved in rolling and cutting beautiful sheets of golden pasta!

pasta

Thank you Jamie

There are many many recipes for pasta dough, I have tried loads. And actually, the simplest and best one so far, came on the box of my “Ferrari”. Being a Jamie Oliver pasta machine, I have to give my thanks to Jamie, for a fabulously simple recipe.

He uses 4 large organic eggs, and 400g Type 00 flour. That’s it! 2 ingredients!!!

I have always read about type 00 flour, and always wondered what it was, and what the 00 stood for. This is what I found out from Google:

“A wheat flour typically milled in Italy, where millers grade their flour by using a ‘zero’ rating. A single zero flour is quite coarse in texture, like very powdery semolina, whereas triple zero is much finer like cornstarch. But everyday flour is usually classed as double zero, or ‘00‘.”

I am not a chef, I just love to cook. I don’t know the ins and outs of why certain ingredients do certain things, so I really can’t give you all the reasons why you should rather use type 00 flour over other types of flours. All I can tell you, is that I don’t keep fancy ingredients in my pantry. I use what I have, or buy items that are inexpensive.

So, when it comes to making pasta, I actually just use cake flour, because I always have that on hand. Poor Jamie, I wonder what he would have to say about that!

Avoiding the monster mess

Anyway, back to the recipe. Whenever I read a pasta dough recipe, it always tells you to put the mound of flour on a clean surface, make a hollow, and add the eggs. This always feels a monster mess to me! so my method is to scrap the clean surface, and instead use a nice big heavy mixing bowl. I add my 400g flour to the bowl, make a hollow and add the four eggs to that. Using a fork, I then whisk up the eggs, and slowly work the flour into the eggs. When my fork can no longer do the job, I get my hands involved until the flour and egg are completely combined.

Needing to knead, and knead some more

Only then do I make use of my clean surface. I sprinkle flour onto the counter top and begin to knead the dough. And just when I feel like I can’t possibly knead anymore, the hard, crumbly dough, takes on the smooth, silky texture Jamie always describes.

This is normally at the point where I am ready to chuck away the dough ball, and open a packet of store bought spaghetti! Hang in there, you will thank me. The dough is ready, when it springs back if you poke it. Roll your hard work up in some cling wrap and pop it into the fridge for at least and hour.

This batch of dough make enough pasta for two meals for the four of us. the dough freezes well, and stores in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Start your engines

After an hour, get your pasta machine set up according to your manufacturer’s instructions.

I usually divide my dough into four pieces, this makes each piece more manageable.

Flour your counter top and roll your dough flattish using a rolling pin. Then feed it through the rollers at their widest setting. I normally do this ¾ times, folding it in half between rolls. Then keep rolling the dough through progressively thinner settings. If the piece becomes unmanageable you can always cut it into two. Once you have your beautiful paper-thin piece of dough, you then need to decide what you want to do with it. And this is the fun part. Will you be making spaghetti, Linguini, or lasagna, or something a little more exciting like, ravioli, tortellini, cannelloni or Rotolo! There are so many options! That is one of the best things about pasta, the options are as complicated or as simple as you want them to be!

If you are making lasagna sheets, spaghetti or linguini, you will need to hang your pasta to dry. There are many gadgets on the market that can facilitate this, my very unsophisticated tool – our clothes horse – it is perfect, and I can hang a ton of pasta on it!

Once your pasta is dry you can also store it in an air tight container, or cook it straight away.

Aldente

The other great thing with home made pasta, is that it cooks in much less time than store bought. You just need a huge pot of salted boiling water, I always add a bit of olive oil to stop the pasta from sticking. A friend of mine taught me to cook it in batches, instead of all at once. He says, if there is too much pasta it cools the water down too much and takes longer to cook. I like my pasta aldente, so be careful not to overcook it. Using a pasta spoon remove your pasta and serve with a sauce of your choice, and a big glass of red wine. You deserve it after that labour of love!

For a little extra inspiration I have dedicated a whole Pinterest board to all things Pasta,

Do you have a favorite sauce you like to serve with your pasta? Please share it in the comments section, I would love to hear about it!

 

2 thoughts on ““Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” Federico Fellini

  1. I too like to prepare my own pasta and my teenage son and I have lots of fun making it together. However, my recipe is much easier and I like to mix the flour with a bit of semolina.

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