Saturday, May 25, 2013

Let's Do This: Fresh Pasta

It's not that complicated. Making fresh pasta is like giving a big warm hug to a good friend. There's a lot of love that goes into doing it and a lot of joy in receiving it. Keep it simple and it will be remembered for a long, long time.

Let's get started!

1. Separate eggs and reserve whites for another use.

3. Using your hand as a mixer, begin rotating your fingers clockwise and allow the flour to work itself into the yolks. Then rotate your fingers in the opposite direction. A ball will begin to form. Stop and clean your hands with flour, this helps to remove the yolks.

4. On a floured surface begin to knead the dough until the ball is free of all lumps and dried flour. At first it will be shaggy, but as you work it, pressing and folding and giving it a deep tissue massage (that's right!), the pasta dough will stop sticking to your fingers. At this point it should be moist to the touch but not tacky. If your dough does not feel moist, then add a little bit of the whites and work it in. Add just a little because you can always add more if necessary.

5. Once it has rested, divide dough into four pieces taking one of those pieces and flattening it while returning the other three back under the damp cloth so they don't dry out. It is really important for the dough to stay moist.

6. Get out your rolling pin and some elbow grease and prepare to beat up some dough! Keep flour nearby for dusting.

7. Fold pasta into thirds, like a letter, and roll again to knead the pasta further until pasta is smooth. Now fold it in half and roll it. Ultimately, you want the pasta to be as thin as possible but still opaque or it will be too delicate when it gets boiled.

8. As you finish sheets, place them under a damp towel while you roll out remaining pieces or they will dry.

Photos: George Simian + Beata Bernina

9. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt it like sea water. Also add a tablespoon of olive oil which prevents the water from boiling over. You won't be cooking this fresh pasta for long, only a couple minutes. Then stop the cooking by placing the pasta in ice water.

The beauty of hand made pasta is that all it needs is a little butter and some good quality parmesan, maybe some chopped herbs if you have, and presto! The most loving dinner ever.

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