April 18, 2012

Be creative when hanging your pasta up to dry

Pasta is one of the most versatile ingredients ever! Have it filled, covered in sauce, just with a little oil, cold in a salad, baked.. the list is endless, and what's more is that its so quick and simple to make.

The process is made even more quick and simple with the addition of a pasta machine to the mix, essentially is a very precise and fast roller. You can roll the pasta out by hand, which will tone up your forearms, but this will make the quick and easy process not so quick and not so easy!


This recipe make enough pasta for 6 portions of tagliatelle or spaghetti

290g plain flour, a lot of recipes call for strong flour which is finer and contains more gluten but I find that plain flour works fine especially for everyday pasta
3 eggs
1 tbsp water
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Make a pile of flour in the centre of a large, flat surface (choose one that's easy to scrub clean as you'll find some pasta dough gets stuck to the surface) and make a well in the middle. Mix the eggs, oil and water in a cup or jug then poor about a third in the well. Use a fork to scrap in a little flour from the wall around the liquid and whisk it together, as the mixture gets stiffer add more liquid until it's all gone.

Now use your hands in the scooping action make sure all the flour is included in the pasta mix then knead the dough until its very smooth. Dust the kneading surface with more flour to make sure it doesn't stick.

When the dough is smooth and stretchy roll it into a ball and cover it with clingfilm, leave it to rest but not in the fridge.

The pasta needs to rest for about half and hour, you can use this time to make a sauce or filling for your pasta. I've put up another recipe for carbonoli, my carbonara ravioli, have a look if you fancy a filled pasta recipe.

After the dough has rested you need to roll it out, I'll describe the process assuming you're using a pasta machine. First you need to laminate the pasta dough, do this y passing the dough through the machine at its thickest setting, then folding it in on itself until it is three layers thick. Now put the dough back through the machine and repeat this three times at least, the more times you do the smoother and finer the texture your pasta will be. Work through the settings getting thinner and thinner, if the pasta becomes too long to work with just cut it in half and do each bit at a time.

When you've gotten to the thinnest setting you can choose either to use the tagliatelle or spaghetti setting or keep the pasta in sheets, then to dry it or use it fresh.

If dried and stored in an airtight container pasta can be kept for ages but I normally keep mine for about a month. Its so quick and easy to make I'd rather have it fresh to try and use it all up soon after its been made.

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