Saturday, March 5, 2016

Pasta

My basic recipe for the pasta dough is about 1 egg to every 3/4 cup of flour.  Of course, this will vary on how big the egg is, how fresh, and what kind of flour I'm using.  So it's just a starting point.  I may add just a little water to the dough if I think it's too dry.  If you would like a richer pasta for a special occasion, add more egg yolks to the dough.  It will be wonderful. 
After you make the dough, it must rest a little.  Wrap the dough in a piece of floured plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes.  It will be easier to roll out.












Rolling out the pasta is not hard - you will get the hang of it pretty quickly.  After the pasta has rested, cut off a piece about the size of the palm of your hand. Adjust the pasta rollers to #1, the widest setting, and put the pasta through.  Make sure you flour the pasta dough lightly so that it doesn't stick to the rollers.  After the dough comes through the rollers, fold it into thirds and pass it through the #1 slot again.  Do this a couple of more times. The pasta will become very soft and velvety.  Adjust the rollers to the next thinnest setting, #2, and put the pasta through.  Do not fold the pasta this time.  Keep passing it through the rollers, adjusting them thinner, until you reach the thickness you like.  I usually stop at #5 or #6 (for ravioli, I never go beyond #5 because it will be too thin).   As you pass the pasta through narrower settings, the pasta may become sticky again - keep lightly flouring it.

At this point, you now have fresh pasta sheets that you can make homemade lasagna with.  After rolling out the pasta sheets, they must dry just a little on the counter if you want to make a cut pasta, like linguini or fettuccine.  If you cut them before they have dried a little, the cutters will not cut them cleanly through. Dry them too much, however, and they will be brittle.  
After your pasta has been cut, I have found that the best way to store them pasta is on a rimmed sheet pan. Toss the pasta with a little flour so it does not stick.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until you cook it.  I usually make the pasta in the morning but I have even made it the day before I needed it and it has done just fine in the fridge.  It will stay supple and not become brittle, if you refrigerate it.  Toss the pasta every once in a while with a little more flour, just to make sure it doesn't become sticky

To cook the pasta, boil it for only about two minutes in a large pot of salted water.  
For the Spinach Pasta:
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach
  • 2 to 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 3 eggs
  • Make the pasta:Steam the spinach until just wilted. Cool a little and squeeze all the liquid out. Chop finely. Mound flour on work surface. Make a well in the center and break eggs into the well. Beat lightly with fork and add the spinach into the eggs. Mix with fork. Start incorporating the flour until all the flour is added. If still sticky, add more flour, little by little, until you have a dough that is not too dry and not too sticky. Knead by hand for 5 minutes. Wrap in well floured plastic wrap and set aside to rest at least for 30 minutes.Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

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