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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Basic Pasta Recipe

Fresh pasta is incredibly easy and fun to make.  If you have an hour to spare it is well worth while. 
Once you have made the dough, rest it for half an hour while you do something else, that way it is not too onerous on your time.
Here's what you need to make enough tagliatelle for 2 people;  220 g strong flour, 2 eggs, pinch of salt.  The basic rule is about 100 g - 110 g of flour per egg.

Let's make some pasta!
1)  Put your flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl and make a well in the middle.  Some people like to make pasta on the counter top and start with their flour in a mound on the counter, but to be honest, I find this messy and less hygienic than using a bowl. 
2)  Break your eggs together in a seperate jug/bowl and beat them to break up the yolks.  Add the beaten egg to the centre of the flour.  Please wash your hands after handling egg shells before mixing and kneading the pasta.
3)  Start mixing the flour into the egg, I use a fork to start the process, then get your hands in there to thoroughly mix it altogether. 
4)  Now get it out on the counter and start kneading/pummeling the dough as if your life depended on it!  Ever wondered why Italian women over a certain age are so strong?  Keep kneading, stretching for about 10 minutes.  The dough actually starts to take on a slightly shiny look.  

5)  Wrap the dough ball in cling film and rest it (and yourself!) in a cool place for half an hour.
6)  The dough is now ready to be rolled out.  The easiest way is with a pasta roller but can be done by hand with a decent rolling pin.  Divide the dough into 2 manageable pieces and, using a rolling pin, roll it so that it will fit through the largest setting on the pasta roller.
7)  Starting with the largest setting reduce the setting on the machine a step at a time until you reach the smallest setting giving a lovely long thin sheet of pasta ready to be cut into the shape of your choice.
Once you have mastered basic pasta, try adding finely chopped spinach or tomato paste or even squid ink into the flour and egg mix.