By: Culinary Frank
Description: There are so many reasons for you to make fresh pasta at home. It is not only tastier than the store-bought one, but it also makes you feel like an artist, as you are creating something beautiful and romantic out of simple ingredients that you may already have in your pantry.
Time to prepare the recipe: 20 minutes
Time to cook: 1.5 minutes
Duration: 21.5 minutes
Ingredients: flour, egg, salt, olive oil,
About two blocks away down the street from home sits one of my favourite places in Mackay – Vinnies, a second-hand shop. Ever since I stepped into the magical world of food photography, searching for vintage kitchenware has become an obsession of mine.
Not only does it help my job as a food photographer, but it is also very economical. I once found a set of 15 plates and bowls that only cost me $15. It was made in England and oven-proof as well (sounds awesome right?) Shopping at these second-hand shops also means that you donate to the ones in need, so I encourage you to go explore your local thrift store. Who knows what treasure is waiting for you there?
Speaking of hidden gems, I just found mine a few weeks ago at Vinnies while looking for props for my next shot. As I turned to the kitchenware aisle, sitting on the far edge of the bottom shelf was a lonely, single pasta machine. Almost immediately, my mind screamed out, “Oh Hallelujah!!!” This heart-racing reaction was mainly because of an earlier missed opportunity, when I hesitated to buy one in a visit, and it had already gone once I made up my mind. Therefore, to be able to see another one this time around, “it must be fate” I thought to myself. It was still in the box, so I popped it open and checked carefully. Everything was in mint condition without even a single touch of dust. “You are coming home with me babe” was what I whispered silently, while tightly holding the box with both hands and walking swiftly to the cashier.
There has always been a fear when it comes to making fresh pasta for many people, myself included. I guess the reluctance of doing this at home was because I was afraid of making a mess and then had to clean it up later. There was also an irrational fear of sticky dough (I just don’t know why haha, maybe I have a mild form of sticky phobia). But after doing research and convincing myself to step outside of the comfort zone, I realized making fresh pasta should not be a fear after all. In fact, there are so many reasons for you to make fresh pasta at home. It is not only tastier than the store-bought one, but it also makes you feel like an artist, as you would be creating something beautiful and romantic out of simple ingredients that are already in your pantry. Flour and eggs will be all you need to create a pasta dough, and with a pasta dough lays a horizon of recipes that you can create. From fettuccine carbonara to ravioli, the choices are endless.
If you are afraid of making a mess on your countertop, you can use a big bowl to mix the flour and eggs together (Ideally, 100 grams of flour to 1 whole egg.) And luckily for us, pasta dough is a very forgiving kind, so you can really play with it. If your dough is too dry, don’t hesitate to add some water to it. If it is too wet, sprinkle a few pinches of flour and it will be just fine. There is also no fixed duration for how long you should knead the dough, it will be ready when you see a smooth surface (like a baby’s cheeks). Traditionally, pasta dough is rolled by hand, but to be honest, it can be quite a workout, so investing in a pasta machine is something I would recommend. You might be lucky and find one in a second-hand shop like I did, or buy a new one at the retail stores; I’m sure you will be happy either way. Indeed, the machine will do the heavy lifting part for you, and also is a big help on the technical side by rolling out your pasta more evenly. When you have got your pasta sheet, once again, the pasta will be generous with you. It can be shaped the way you prefer and you can now cut it to the thickness that you want. The possibilities are limitless!
Below will be a basic recipe for pasta dough and I hope it could wash away your fear of making fresh pasta like it did to me. Good luck and until the next time.
|Prep time||Cook time|
|20 minutes||90 seconds|
|All-purpose flour||200 gm|
|Eggs||2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk|
1. In a mixing bowl, sift in the flour, then make a well in the middle ( like creating a water pond with flour surround it). Break in 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk. Use a fork start beating the egg like you would do with an omelette, and bring in the flour slowly each time.
2. Do this until the mixture started to be sticky, then remove the fork and start using your “God-given tool”, your hand. Using your hand and start kneading the dough, try to clean as much flour in the bowl as possible. Then transfer everything to a clean surface, and work on your dough.
3. You want to use one hand to hold down one side of the dough, and the other’s palm stretch out the dough, roll back, turn it 90 degree then stretch it out again. Repeat this step, until you clean up all the flour on the surface.
4. You will want to continue kneading the dough until you see the surface of the dough is smooth (like a baby’s cheeks). Then use cling firm, warp it up, make sure there is no air, and let it rest in room temperature for at least 30 mins.
5. While the dough is resting, prep up your pasta machine, rolling pin and a little bit of flour for dusting.
6. When the dough is nicely rested, portion it into the size that you can easily work with (rewrap the other doughs). Dust some flour on its surface, as well as your rolling pin, roll the dough out flat, then fold it like an envelope then roll it flat again (it should be thin enough to go through your first number). Set your pasta machine to the biggest gap then start passing through your dough. you want to do this 3 to 4 times.( If you feel your dough is sticky, dust some flour on to it).
7. Decrease/ increase the number (depend on your pasta machine) to reduce the gap, and pass through your pasta dough again. Repeat this step and each time decrease/ increase a number. You can cut the dough if it starts to get too long.
8. When you pasta dough as thin as your desire, dust some flour on to its surface, then cut it to length you want. You can use either a knife to cut into the shape you wanted or use the attached rollerblade to cut it.
9. Dust some flour into your cut pasta to prevent sticking. From here you can cook them straight with boiling water seasoned with salt. Or you can store it in the freezer for future uses.