My family must love me just a bit chubby, because instead of new workout clothes or a Groupon for bikini bootcamp, I got baking books, cooking utensils, a pasta maker, and a Groupon for cooking classes this past Christmas. They must know what will actually get used and appreciated! Tonight we tested out the pasta maker and as Zach puts it, “well, it tastes like pasta, so I guess it worked?” It was a bit on the thick side as I was afraid to go any thinner my first time around, but it was still tasty!
Pasta is pretty easy if you have a pasta maker / roller / cutter. All you need is pasta dough (4 eggs and 3.5 cups of all-purpose flour for 1 lb of pasta), some elbow grease and the pasta machine.
Pour out the flour onto a large cutting board and make a well in the center of the pile. Crack your eggs into the well. Make sure you make your well large enough to hold all the eggs or it’ll run all over the place and make a huge mess like mine! Break the egg yolks with a fork and start mixing in the flour inside the well moving outwards. Mix until it is all incorporated.
Kneed your dough until it is smooth (about 6 minutes) and then let it rest covered with plastic wrap or a damp cloth for about 20 minutes so that the gluten can develop.
Using a pastry cutter or knife, divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Flatten one (keep the others covered) and feed it through the pasta maker 5-6 times on the largest setting (usually 0), folding it in half after each pass through, until it forms a nice smooth rectangle. Then feed it through each of the settings once until you get the desired thickness. Then feed it through the cutting side, catch the pasta strands, toss with flour and set aside to dry for about 1 hour before cooking. Do the same for the other portions of pasta dough.
I sauteed up some fresh shitake and baby portabella mushrooms and added to the Garlic Lovers’ Pasta sauce from River Valley Kitchens that we picked up today at our neighborhood winter farmers’ market. The I tossed in the cooked pasta and dinner was ready! To add to the carb-fest we had toasted bread with the uber delicious 5-Cheese Garlic Spread also from River Valley Kitchens.
There will definitely be more hand-made pasta in the near future and Zach can’t wait to make colored / flavored pasta too! Wait…who’s Christmas present was this?