Pizza and pasta are some the most well known Italian dishes around! With such an array of dried pasta available on the supermarket shelves, you may question why you should go to the length of making your own fresh pasta, especially as many supermarkets now offer fresh pasta in addition to the dried variety.
As with any food item, you make from scratch, making your own pasta gives you complete control over what goes into it. You can choose to add your own colourings and flavourings such as squid ink (for black pasts) garlic, chilli pepper flakes, not to mention being able to choose your preferred quality of flour and eggs carefully and leave out any unpronounceable ingredients.
Health concerns aside, the most common reason for making your own pasta is if it is the first step in making your own stuffed pasta such as tortellini or ravioli. It is not possible to make your own versions of the pasts yourself as dried pasta will not stick to itself- a vital requirement for these tasty pasta parcels.
Making your own pasta can quickly, and easily, get messy, especially on your first few tries; but the great thing about it is that it is also fairly forgiving. If a batch starts sticking together or isn’t coming out smooth you can simply ball it up and start again, it is even possible to tweak the consistency of your dough with the addition of extra water, olive oil or eggs fairly late in the process. Making pasta with kids is an incredibly fun and interactive way to get them engaged in the cooking process, and is an education in where our food comes from that you are unlikely to get form opening up a box of dried pasta. The skills of measuring, mixing, kneading and rolling out are all universal to many cooking disciplines. Fussy eaters are also more likely to have a taste of something they helped create too!
So you have decided to take the plunge and try your hand at making your own pasta what ingredient and equipment are you going to need?
At its simplest fresh pasta calls for only three ingredients; flour, salt and eggs.
A pound of fresh pasta will require 4.25 ounces of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and three large eggs. After combining the salt and flour you will want to make a well with the dry ingredients and crack the eggs into the middle of it.
Gently start to combinethe flour with the eggs, you will want to take it slow so the wet and dry combines properly until you are left with a fairly stiff dough.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until you get a smooth, almost satin like texture to the dough, if the dough seems coarse it needs more kneading.
At this point you can add extra water or flour of your dough isn’t sticking together well or is to sticky.
It is important to understand that pasta dough is always going be a lot firmer and tougher than even bread dough so don’t be afraid if your hands start to get sore while kneading!
Now that you have your dough, wrap it tightly in cling film and leave to rest for at least 45 minutes to allow the dough to ‘relax’ which will make rolling it out easier.
After the dough has rested you are ready to either roll out the pasta and cut it by hand or make use of a pasta making machine.