Monday, May 18, 2009
Homemade Pasta in honor of my 100th Post!
When I started this blog I really didn't think that far ahead. I never thought of my 100th blog but now that I'm here I'm really excited! I wanted to make something special and decided homemade pasta would be perfect. I've tried making homemade pasta on my own in the past and was semi-happy with the results but that was a long time ago. I cannot begin to tell you how I felt trying it again this time. I don't know if it was that I felt more confidant this time, or if I was just thinking a lot about Nanny but I was really overcome with emotion. Once the dough was made I was constantly reminded of how it felt when I made it with Nanny. The smell of the took me back to that place about 20 years ago when I kneeled on her dining room chair and got my hands in the dough. When I asked Steve to smell it he couldn't really smell much but for me it was very familiar. I have to say I was filled with regret at never really having the patience to learn everything that Nanny knew about cooking. I watched and touched and tasted but never tried to do it on my own when she was around to help me and guide me. If you have someone in your life who you admire and want to learn from, whether it's cooking or baking or anything else, do it now. It may be hard to imagine but there will be a time when you wish you could ask a question or need their opinion and it's too late. Ask everything while they are still around.
Okay, now that I depressed you all (sorry!) let's get to the recipe and my results. I had a lot of fun making this and probably got a little carried away with making sure it was thin enough. When Nanny rolled it by hand and when I got impatient and wanted to cut it she always said it wasn't thin enough. So I think I made the pasta too thin. I used my pasta attachment for my kitchen aid mixer and put the pasta through twice through each setting 1-6 and then once through 7. I put it through twice because I remember watching Mario Batali doing that but the directions of the recipe I followed said NOT to do that. I loved using the attachment, it's so much quicker and easier than rolling it out by hand. However, if you can knead it and roll it out by hand go ahead and do it, I'm sure it's a very cathartic experience. You can also make the dough in a food processor.
Recipe from Biba's Taste of Italy
(makes a little over 1 lb of fettuccine)
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt (I added this on my own - not sure if it makes a difference)
In bowl of stand mixer beat eggs and salt. Attach dough hook and flour a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Increase the speed and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, until smooth, soft and pliable.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured wooden board of other work surface. Flour your hands lightly and knead the dough for a minute or two. If the dough seems too firm, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, then knead the dough again for about a minute.
Biba's tip: Making the dough with a machine requires a little less flour than making it by hand. Reserve 1/2 cup or so of the flour called for in the recipe. After the dough has been kneaded, touch it. If it is silky and slightly moist, it is ready; if it is too sticky, work in the reserved flour.
This tip was great. I did not need to use the 1/2 cup reserved flour. If I used it the dough would have been too dry.
To roll out the dough with pasta attachment:
Set the rollers of the pasta machine at their widest setting (1 - for Kitchen Aid) Cut off a piece of dough about the size of a large egg and flatter in under the palm of your hand. Keep the rest of the dough wrapped in plastic wrap. Dust the flattened piece of dough lightly with flour and run it once through the machine. Fold the dough in half, pressing down on it with your fingertips, and run it through the machine again. Repeat this step four to five times, dusting the dough lightly with flour if needed, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky; the dough will become firmer since the machine is actually kneading the dough. Do not skimp on this step, or, as you think the pasta, it may stick to the rollers.
Adjust the rollers to the next setting and run the dough through once; do not fold the dough again. Adjust the rollers to the next setting and run the rollers once; continue to adjust the rollers and roll the pasta through the machine until it reaches desired thinness.
If you are making stuffed pasta, cut and stuff the dough immediately, before rolling out another piece. For string pasta or ribbon noodles, roll out the remaining dough and allow the sheets to dry before cutting them into noodles.
Biba's Tip: If the sheet of dough sticks to the pasta machine, dust it lightly with flour. Be sure to run the sheet of dough once through each setting; don't skip a setting or the dough may tear.
To cut pasta using attachment:
Spread a clean tablecloth on a large work surface and lay out the rolled-out sheets of pasta on it. Let dry for 8-10 minutes, depending on the temperature of the room, until the sheets of pasta are no longer sticky and are beginning to curl up slightly at the edges.
Run the sheets of pasta through the widest setting for tagliatelle or the narrow setting for tagliolini. Arrange the noodles in bundles on a wooden board or tablecloth. They can be cooked immediately or allowed to dry, uncovered and cooked later; they an be kept at room temperature uncovered for several days.