The Italian blood coursing through my veins means I enjoy a delectable pasta dish as much as the next person and having spent an amazing 3 weeks in this beautiful country, I got to taste my fair share of the real McCoy.
Making my own pasta from scratch has never been high on my list of ‘must try’s’, but after watching a lot of cooking shows that make it look uber-straight-forward, and seeing a Pasta Machine on sale at the mall one day, I suggested this as a possible gift idea to my husband who was struggling (as always) to find inspiration for ideas for my birthday and Christmas gifts – which fall within a week of each other!
I was very excited to unwrap this wee beauty come Christmas morning, and even more so to actually sit down and have a play with it. I had no idea it would be so simple (or so fun!) to prepare the dough and roll into pasta sheets. Had I been making simple Spaghetti or Fettucine on my first try, it would have been a fairly quick exercise. For some reason instead, I decided to make Ravioli and yeah, it turned into a very time-consuming exercise! Definitely a labour of love. But one that was thoroughly appreciated and devoured by my little family so it was worth it. I am now excited to try lots of different filling ideas for stuffed-style pastas.
Here are instructions for making basic Pasta dough which can used as noodle style or as the sheets for stuffed style pastas. All that varies is the thickness (or thinness) of your rolling and the choice of cutter you choose to use after rolling to desired thickness.
There are many opinions on which types of flour or combinations of flours produce the best result and I will experiment a little as time goes on to find one that suits me best, but for this first go, I only had plain flour on hand so that is what I used, and it produced a perfectly adequate result.
- 3 C plain flour + extra for dusting and kneading
- ½ t salt
- 4 eggs
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 T water, plus more as needed
- In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a regular bowl if you don't have a stand mixer) combine the flour and salt and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs into the well. Using the dough hook for the stand mixer, (or a wooden spoon if doing by hand), slowly mix the eggs and flour/salt.
- The mixture will not come together as you would expect with a bread dough - it will be very dry and a bit 'shaggy'. Add in the olive oil and water and knead until the dough is a bit more cohesive and smooth. You will need to keep adding water little by little to achieve a consistency you are happy with. I found I needed to add quite a bit of extra water to get the texture I was after.
- Divide the dough into four portions and cover with a damp towel. Let them rest for 20 minutes.
- Once rested, you can either run through a pasta roller and cutters (following instructions specific to your machine) to create your desired type of pasta, or if you are doing it the 'elbow grease' way, you can achieve the same outcome on a lightly dusted work surface with a rolling pin and knife for cutting.
- To cook, bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook for 3-5 minutes or until al dente. Drain well and serve immediately.
- Once I have experimented more, I will post recipes for alternative pasta combinations as there are other flours which can be used. For now plain flour is all I have used and it was perfectly sufficient.