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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Homemade Pasta

 My Mom used to make homemade pasta mostly in the winter months feeling as if she was holed up in the house anyway, she was a true believer in making the proverbial lemonade from lemons. I remember seeing the racks of tagliatelle all over the kitchen as they dried and how it gave me such a homey good feeling. These racks which were actually clothes drying racks were only used for this purpose and so I thought they were genuinely called pasta drying racks until adulthood. Now as an adult I have my own authentic pasta drying rack and I try replicate this homey feeling every winter in my own ~home sweet home~ This recipe is for a general all purpose pasta dough used for everything from spaghetti to ravioli it is based on my Mom's recipe but that has been tweaked a bit over the years.
~My Mom and me in the cucina, our favorite place still to this day~

Ingredients 1 pound
2 cups flour: bread, all purpose, or semolina  (See my note below)
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon olive oil
water as needed
Flour Note: I have always used all purpose or half all purpose half semolina to save money while My Mom typically used semolina only and then I saw in The Silver Spoon to use bread flour, I tried it and it was much more tender like semolina flour but it must rest for an hour before rolling out.
Kitchen Aid
Place dry ingredients in KA mixer and aerate. Add wet ingredients and knead for 7 minutes. Add some water or flour if needed: some days this recipe is just perfect but other days I may need to add more water.Knead on floured counter for a minute.
Separate in to *4 portions and place each in a plastic bag so they won't dry out while you are rolling.
Place dry ingredients in machine and aerate. Add wet ingredients slowly and allow to form a mass and then knead this mass for just under a minute. Add some water if needed: some days this recipe is just perfect but other days I may need to add more water. Knead on floured counter for 1 minute. Separate in to 4 portions and place in plastic bag. Allow to rest for 30 minutes  or an hour if using bread flour.

Now we are ready to run them through the pasta machine!!
Start by shaping the dough into a flattish oval with your hands and running it through the widest setting (number 1) about 5-10 times! If it tears no worries just fold over and do it again. Each time fold it half again trying to keep a rectangle shape. This is kneading the dough and you do this until the dough is soft. Now sprinkle more flour on each side.
Now we are ready to thin it out. We are going to run it through each number one time. Starting at number 2 and working your way up to about 6 or even up to 9 for really thin but if just starting out you can stop at 6 and work your way up as you become more comfortable with making pasta. Do not push or pull just guide. If it gets too big cut in half. Or you can use a large wooden dowel or handle to catch it as it comes out and gets longer, my Mom taught me this trick! Or better yet, get an extra set of hands : ) Now you are ready to make some pasta shapes!

Shaping Our Dough
Now you can make tagliatelle or fettuccini (These are the wider flat pastas) by using the attachment for your machine. Simply run it through on the last number you used to thin out the dough and voila! 
Or you can do this by hand. Flour your dough well on both sides and then roll up loosely. Now cut into strips and then pick up and toss to separate.
  • To Make Lasagna noodles just cut the piece of dough into about 13 inch long pieces after the last rolling through number 5-6. You need to quickly boil approximately 2 sheets at a time, 2-3 minutes. Place them on a table cloth to rest before using.
  • To Make Ravioli go here: Ravioli
  • To make Canneloni roll out to a rectangular sheet on number 5-6. around 13 inches long then boil 2-3 at a time for 2-3 minutes and set on clothe to dry. Cut each in half and place stuffing near one end and roll up. 
  • My daughter in-law and I are working on making tortellini so that will be coming soon! 
What If The Strands Stick and Do Not Separate? 
This is a common problem it usually due to too sticky of a dough, add more flour to the machine and dough before pressing through to make the tagliatelle shape. But sometimes it just happens----maybe the weather that day or the type of flour you used--- and you just may have to separate the strands.

Using & Storing the Pasta
Drying Before Cooking Same Day- Hang on rack or flat on a floured sheet pan across table and allow to dry for atleast half an hour before cooking.
Drying Before Storing- To store the pasta it must be completely dry or else it will mold. The time varies depending on thickness of pasta, humidity, and temperature of kitchen it may take hours or even up to days. Once it is completely dry place the dried pasta in a large Ziploc baggy and lay flat or use a plastic container, I feel that a plastic container that is wide and flat works best.
Freezing- Lay each pasta out on sheet pan and freeze for 1/2 hour. Place in a large baggy and freeze flat down for up to several months if sealed well.
Cooking Time – Fresh 3 minutes OR Frozen or Dried 5 –7 (al dente - bite it and it should be firm to the tooth yet tender)
This is my daughter in-law's first homemade tagliatelle!

What Sauce To Use For Tagliatelle/Fettuccine?-  These pastas are delicate and quite tasty since they are fresh so I do not like anything too acidic as it takes away from the pasta flavor so I like to use a Butter based sauce such as my: Butter Tomato Sauce Recipe  Wiki says: "Traditionally tagliatelle is homemade and used for thick sauces, generally made with beef, veal, or pork, and occasionally with rabbit, as well as several other less rich (and more vegetarian) options; such as briciole e noci (with breadcrumbs and nuts), uovo e formaggio (with eggs and cheese - a less rich carbonara), or simply pomodoro e basilico (with tomatoes and basil)." Information Source: Wiki

*Note- My friend Katherine has suggested cutting the pasta pieces into 6 loaves  in order to handle it if you do not have an extra set of hands!

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