Friday, February 5, 2010

Adventures in Eggland: Fresh homemade pasta!

I've had the concept of making fresh pasta for some time. When I found this recipe at Rosa's Yummy Yum's, I finally decided I should do it. I really wanted to make fresh pasta. I ended up not using Rosa's recipe, though I used a variety of her links, but instead used semolina flour in the dough (according to my flour's directions) mixed with all purpose flour. Etc. I don't know, that seemed like what I wanted to do. I probably should make it all semolina, to be supa' traditional. But I didn't. Because semolina flour is expensive.

So I made homemade dough. Part of this was because I wanted to, part of this was because I have 2 pasta dishes on my menu this week and thought it'd be fun to try with them. Part of this was for the Eggland Foodbuzz dealie, because I figured... egg yolks, in the pasta, you'll get to taste the flavour and see the difference. And I feel like you may have, it was very good pasta. But partially because it was homemade.

These are some of the eggland eggs, fresh cracked. Look how bright the yolks are. This picture is like a sunny day-- yellow sphere in a blue background. I appreciate that. I've noticed that the shells are sort of hard to crack open, for me, likely because they're so fresh. The inner membrane is holding taught. Or maybe there's another reason, I don't know. I don't know enough about eggs, I should probably google that shiz. I wanted to post a picture of the cracked eggs yesterday, but I didn't have the opportunity-- because I forgot to take a picture. But this time, this time I was ready.

This is a combination of my flours and such. I thought it made for a cool image. I don't really have a lot to say about the pasta except OH MY LORD is it hard to make! The dough is very tough, and it takes forever. So WARNING, do not make this pasta unless you have plenty of time on your hands or a pasta roller. Because I don't. I have wine bottles at my house, which I used as a rolling pin. I don't have a pizza cutter-- I used a knife (thus the very awesome even edges of my pappardelle pasta, below). I used the one recipe of dough for two kinds of pasta, ate the one type (strozzapreti) last night in dinner, and plan to use the pappardelle soon. I fell in love with pappardelle last Valentine's Day when Jeff brought me to this tasty restaurant (I don't know the name), where they served it with like... a rich wine and beef and mmmm. Drool. I had never seen such wide ribbons of pasta before, and they made me so happy. They were so thin and delicious. My pasta is not as thin-- I don't have the arm/man power. I was dreaming of a pasta machine while I made this, fantasizing. Alas, none appeared.

The strozzapreti cooked up wonderfully. I think I boiled it like 6-8 minutes, and it was still a bit on the tough side (not quite al dente), but that was my own fault. I let these dry most of the day, at least 6 hours. The papardelle is hanging out in my fridge. Its kind of amusing to me how different homemade pasta tastes from store bought pasta-- and I obviously buy storebought. I wonder how many restaurants actually make homemade pasta, probably very few-- the ones that do are the expensive ones, I imagine. However, I like the authenticity. I want to go to Italy to be like, mm, authentic.
I also kept thinking while I was making this pasta how it must have been to be like... a cook back when we didn't have any mechanics. So women/men would spend all day making pasta, rolling it out, shaping it, forming it to make dinner that night/that week. Same thing with like, tortillas, they're not exactly the easiest buggers. Or bread. All that work, just for food later. My roommate, Vicky, was saying if it were her-- she would have been the one to invent gruel. Just water and some sort of flour substance. Or just poke some meat or vegetable on a stick and hold it over a fire for like 5 minutes, and then eat it. She also said she probably would have poisoned herself fast.
It's amazing. I don't think I can make homemade pasta often. I made it once before in college, I made egg noodles for chicken noodle soup-- these turned out better. Those were definitely thicker, though similar. I hung them from a clothes hanger to dry--hah!
These all came out shorter. There was less dough, which I couldn't get as long. But that's okay... they're easier for me to handle this way.

Fresh Pasta

1 3/4 Cups All-purpose flour and semolina flour, split, plus extra semolina for kneeding
2 large (Eggland) eggs, lightly beaten
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
Semolina (semolina di grano duro) flour, for dusting
water, to moisten

Sift together the flour and salt into a mound on a working surface. Make a well in the center and add the eggs. using your fingers, gradually incorporate the flour, then kneed for about 10 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and cover with a towel, let rest for 15 minutes. Cut the dough into four pieces and dust a working surface with semolina. Keep the pieces covered while you roll each one out. Roll as thin as possible, like... .25 inches.

To shape the pasta, you can cut strips-- I made pappardelle and strozzapreti. For the pappardelle I cut 3/4" strips, for the strozzapreti I cut 1/2" strips or so and rolled each side so it was facing away from each other (so I folded it in thirds accordian style), then I twisted the strands and cut then into 1 1/2" pieces. Which is... I'm not sure if that's how it's done, but whateva'!

You can follow a guide here.
Allow to dry on a towel.
To cook, boil in salted water until el dente.

*Use water to moisten the dough if it's too stiff. Mine was often too stiff.
*These can be preserved in the fridge for a few days, or allow to dry for 24 hours, wrap tight, and keep in the cupboard.

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