Once you master this recipe, and you have good olive oil and parmigiano in store, fear nothing!
Ingredients for 2 people:
- 1 ORGANIC, free range egg (crucial, for vitamin E)
- Semolina (that is Durum wheat) flour, ORGANIC (crucial to minimize gluten reactions)
- However much flour the egg will take (start with 1/2 cup)
- A PINCH OF SALT
- A MANUAL PASTA MACHINE or – for the bravest – A ROLLING PIN
- THE BASE FOR ALL YOUR PASTA RECIPES: LASAGNE, RAVIOLI, TAGLIATELLE, ANGELHAIR, TORTELLINI…..
Make a well with the flour (the hole: large enough to fit your fist, comfortably)
- Crack the whole egg in the center. Start mixing gently with a fork or your index, til you reach a scrambled egg texture.
- Pack to form a single ball. Move away excess flour, if any, but keep it at hand.
- Knead with your full hand, using your palms rather than your fingers, and even some of your weight.
- If the dough is REALLY sticky, pat your sticky hands in flour to add small increments of flour to the dough. DO NOT ADD FLOUR DIRECTLY TO TH DOUGH (you’ll end up with a rock in your hand).
- Keep kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic: Remember you want the dough to look and feel like baby skin, not teen-age skin.
- Work into a ball, cover or wrap in plastic film, and put aside to rest. (To test: make the dough into a ball, put in on the table, rest one hand on it and lean all your weight on it; slowly lean back and lift your hand: does the dough stick to your hand and then falls on the table? JOB WELL DONE!
This ball is the base for all kinds of fresh pasta. (fettuccine, lasagne, tortellini, tagliatelle etc.)
- Wrap in cling, leave to rest (no fridge, no direct sunlight). Minimum 20 minutes, up to 8 hours
- Unwrap, give it a 30 second “CPR”, break into 2 halves, put one back into cling. Flatten the other one and flour it on both sides.
- Set your pasta machine on the largest setting (lowest number, usually) and roll the dough through.
Now, turn it 90 degrees and put it through the same setting again, just as you would turn a portrait into a landscape (We do this to ensure maximum width to the sheet of dough).
Move the setting to the next number. Roll the dough through (maintaining landscape position)
Continue to number 6 or 7, making sure you flour the dough on both sides every couple of settings, or when it feels too moist and the metal of the machine starts fogging .(before it starts sticking on your hands or on the machine).
For TAGLIATELLE to eat with thick, chunky sauces (like mushrooms) stop at number 6
For RAVIOLI OR TORTELLINI, or TAGLIATELLE with thin sauces continue to number 7
For LASAGNE, or ANGELHAIR that require no chewing, dare number 8 or 9!
BE STINGY WITH FLOUR WHILE KNEADING;
BE GENEROUS WITH FLOUR WHILE ROLLING.
IF YOU PLAN TO MAKE RAVIOLI, PROCEDE IMMEDIATELY, TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE STICKINESS NEEDED TO EASILY SEAL THE RAVIOLI
IF YOU PLAN TO MAKE TAGLIATELLE OR ANGELHAIR, FLOUR THE THE PASTA STRIPES ON BOTH SIDES AND GIVE THEM ABOUT 15 MINUTES TO LOOSE SOME MOISTURE.
TEST: FOLD A CORNER AND PRESS. STILL STICKY? ALLOW TO DRY SOME MORE.
You can make tagliatelle anytime, and eat them when still fresh.
If you do not plan to cook your home made pasta within the day, do the following:
– tagliatelle: allow to dry partially (so the strings do not stick to one another but are still flexible) and lay them in a “nest” shape. That will allow you to store them in single portions. Allow to dry COMPLETELY (you know that’s done when you can brake off a piece.) If you plan to eat within a day or max 2, cover the tray with a dry tea towel and store in the fridge.
Or, you can wrap them loosely and freeze them.
– ravioli: allow to dry thoroughly on a floured surface, making sure they DO NOT TOUCH each other. You will know they are completely dry when you can crack off a corner of the raviolo. If you plan to eat within a day or max 2, cover the tray with a dry tea towel and store in the fridge.
Or, you can wrap them loosely and freeze them.
COOKING FRESH PASTA:
Plenty of briskly boiling salted water. The timing depends on thickness and flour proportion. Keep in mind that fresh pasta, unlike hard pasta (like spaghetti) is forgiving: slightly undercooked, slightly overcooked, still good.
Say 5 minutes for ravioli, 3 minutes for tagliatelle, the way you had them at the class.
COOKING FROZEN HOMEMADE PASTA:
No need for thawing: just throw them in boiling water frozen. Watch the raviolo or the tagliatelle in the water: it will change color once from frozen to raw, then from raw to cooked. So you’ll know that it’s time to gently scoop them out of the boiling water when they have changed color for the second time.