Thursday, January 19, 2012

Holy Canoli! It's homemade Pasta!

I am not Italian. Not even a little. I'm a mutt but not in any way from Italy. My husband loves pasta. Any type really. With fresh sauce, not from a jar. We don't eat much from a jar around here. So I didn't have any boxed pasta in the house and I didn't feel like going to the store. That lead me on yesterdays culinary adventure into homemade pasta. I absolutely adore The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. She's completely awesome and has amazing recipes. I used her recipe, found here, as a base for my own creation.

Homemade Pasta

4 Eggs
2 cups flour

I used my KitchenAid with the dough hook to combine everything and kneed a bit. My shoulder isn't quite up to the entire thing being done by hand, although it's not too complicated. I flipped it out of the bowl, scrapped it down and worked the dough ball by hand for about 10 minutes. Just a roll and press method. It works pretty well. Kind of fold the thing in on itself and press. Then roll it around and do it again. Make sure you flour your hands or it's gonna stick to them like fly on paper. Use a decent amount of flour on your counter too.

Right about here the dogs decided to throw some sort of shit fit and I had to take them out. George is a pain with the constantly being hungry thing. Ahh, prednisone! Hopefully after this next round of allergy shots he'll start getting less itchy and hungry.

So like 15 minutes later it was back to my pasta dough. Looks a little like a soft ball rolled in yellow clay. Smells eggy. Is that a word? Eggy? Oh well, that's what it smelled like.

I used a bench scraper to split the dough in half. Then I kneaded the one half back into a ball and flattened it with my palm. It should look like something you'd find on Princess Lea's head - - less the weird circles.

Flour your surface and your dough patty well and grab a rolling pin. Keep plenty of these around. They work great for many purposes. My favorite is taking my aggression out on a hunk of meat by covering it in Saran and whacking the crap out of it! I digress. So start in the middle of the dough ball and roll out. Do this around the whole thing. It will get fairly large if you do it right. When it was about the size of a pizza, I cut it into quarters to make it easier to work with. Each quarter was then well floured, top and bottom, and rolled until I could see through it. This takes awhile and a lot of upper body work. Skip the gym on pasta day. Maybe that's why Italians are so skinny? All the pasta rolling! Hmmm.

Anyway, keep at it until you have 8 rather see through flat pieces (uniformity doesn't matter) that are well floured. Stack them on top of each other. I folded them over and cut into strips. If you roll or fold the pasta, it's so much quicker! Just makes sure it's oh so well floured or it's gonna stick and you get a nifty dough ball and have to start over.

Using my hands I kind of sifted the pieces apart into a bowl. It was later pointed out to me that this "bowl" method resulted in kind of squiggly pasta. If you hang to air dry or I guess lay the pasta over something flat, I'm guessing you get flat perfect pasta. Personally, I liked my squiggly pasta.

Using a big pot of boiling water with a strainer pot in it, I liberally salted. Pasta water should taste like the ocean! When it came to a nice slow rolling boil on about medium high heat, I dropped in my pasta in individual serving size batches. It does puff up quite a bit so make sure when you're rolling you get it nice and thin, you know, if that's your thing. When it floats, give it another minute or so and it's perfectly done. This pasta doesn't absorb so much water, so you may have to use some of the pasta water to loosen up your sauce a bit when you're finishing. I like to add the sauce and some water and toss. It does soak up the pasta sauce flavor so very nicely!

I'll post a sauce recipe another day. But for now, you can make pasta at home. It's cheap and pretty easy and it tastes awesome!


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