I know I have said in the past we will make pasta, with only two more weeks I thought I better get going. I am completely booked this weekend so this should get us started. Its two a.m. The picture of autumn on the river was too nice to keep for myself,
The endeavor of learning how to make fresh pasta will give you a peephole into one of the sensory skills required to be a decent cook. That being the sense of touch and becoming familiar with how dough should feel when it is made properly. When I say endeavor I mean that this is a skill that can not be mastered by trying the given recipe one time and hopefully succeeding.
I would say if you practiced once a week for no less than 20 weeks you could become a capable pasta maker. It will be the mistakes you make along the way that will give you a better understanding of all the ingredients and what role they play in the final product.
A question I would like to address, one that I find particularly annoying,
“What’s better, fresh or dried pasta?” I find the question patently unfair in that I consider them both different products entirely. An analogous question would be “What’s better, a raisin or a grape?”. Both the raisin and the grape can be quite satisfying given their different applications. The fact that they both originate from the same plant does not mean we compare them to each other in terms of quality. I am confident that if you can accomplish making good fresh pasta you will not look down on its dried cousin, but rather have a new found appreciation for it. I would imagine that answer begs the question, so why make fresh pasta? Lets avoid my proclivity towards tirades and get to the point.
Good Luck Chefs!
Recipe for Fresh Pasta
The following recipe and procedure will make enough pasta for 6 large portions or enough for four Italians.
Egg yolks 9
Semolina 2.5 oz.
All purpose flour 8 oz
Olive oil 1 tablespoon
This is a basic recipe from which you can make just about any type of pasta you want by adding ingredients and subtracting either the egg yolk or water. If I wanted to make sepia pasta I would add two tablespoons of sepia ink and subtract 2 egg yolks.
If I wanted hot pepper pasta I would add two tablespoons of hot pepper paste and subtract two tablespoons of water. The important thing is that you master the basic recipe to learn what it supposed to feel like, from there you will be your own boss. The photo I included shows the texture of the pasta when I take it out of the mixer and finish it by hand on a wooden board. The entire process can be done by hand. I like to start the process with my kitchen aid and finish it by hand. This simply expedites the process. The most important thing is to not make the pasta too dry in the initial mix. Keep it sticky and add flour as you knead the pasta until it comes to the proper firmness. Just for fun, if you tighten your ass muscles, if you have any left, that’s about how the pasta should feel. I will not do this for you. Let the pasta rest for minimum of
45 minutes before you roll it into sheets. It needs to be hung to dry
before you cut it. I will instruct on rolling and cutting next week.
Make some pasta…. We will talk next week.