Pasta …..Beautiful, Delicious & Fun …………
July 31, 2013
Be....Do....Have... .Who do I need to BEcome ..... And what do I need to DO to support my BEing.... to HAVE beautiful pasta .....
- Prep: 1 hr
- Cook: 3 mins
- Yields: 1 Feast
MAKING FRESH PASTA ...... Vision and being...who do we need to be and what do we need to do to support that being to have the most wonderful pasta. So let's build a vision right now.....from pure imagination......"I notice the heat of the sun on my skin, aromas fill the air, fresh tomatoes and basil growing in pots around me. My face is alive with excitement and anticipation. I see my bin of flour and my hands are eager to get working. I feel the strength in my fingers and the love in my heart. Three simple, store cupboard ingredients, water, flour and eggs, come together to create an amazing, hearty and wholesome food. I plunge my hands into the flour, take out enormous handfuls, it feels soft and light to my fingers. Grabbing my jug of water, I mix steadily to form my dough. I begin to work it and feel the muscles in my arms striving as I move, bringing it all together. I am aware of a thought, it's 'wow! they've been making this since ancient times, exactly the same way!' I feel my heart expand with joy and love as I hold my silky, smooth pasta dough in my hands"....... Try this, it's simple, grab a handful of basil and smell it, play some Italian music and I bet you it will transport you to Italy to be the passionate Italian cook.
For every person eating you will need 1 egg and 100g(4oz) of pasta flour. Bear in mind that no 2 batches of flour are exactly identical; and that no 2 eggs are ever quite the same size - so if you do end up having to add another egg or extra flour to your mixture it's no problem, it is not an indication of failure on your part! I do feel that trying to explain how to make fresh pasta in writing is very hard to do and must be almost impossible to really grasp for the reader. It's far better to go to a pasta making class if you can, so that you can see for yourself what actually happens during this magical process!
So let's begin! Put all the flour in a pile on your work surface and plunge your fist into the centre to make a hollow middle. Break your eggs into the hole and add a pinch of salt. Using your fingers or a fork beat the eggs thoroughly, don't worry if the flour starts to mix in. Then begin to roughly knead the flour and then bring it all together and continue kneading. This is not like making pasty, so this is not the moment for a delicate approach, but on the other hand if you are too heavy handed you will cause the dough to dry out too much and it won't roll out smoothly.
Keep kneading together until you have a smooth, pliable ball of dough. Rest the dough in cling film for an hour, this makes it a lot more manageable.
Now comes to the hard part. Sprinkle your surface with some flour to avoid any sticking and roll out your dough as thinly as possible with a strong, long rolling pin. Continue to roll it over and over again until your dough is really elastic, smooth and shiny. It should cool down considerably as you work it, and you will feel the temperature dropping as you go along. When it is ready, the sheet of dough will feel like brand new, wrung out, damp chamois leather, but it must not be brittle. TIP- keep it damp when not working it with a damp cloth. Keep it laid on a floured surface.
Alternatively you can use a pasta machine instead of the traditional rolling pin. Take your dough and break off a piece about the size of a small fist. Flatten this section out and with your hand push it through the the widest setting on your pasta machine. Fold this is half and repeat. Do this 3 times. Now move your machine down to the next setting. Repeat the feeding and folding process another 3 times. Continue in this rhythm moving your setting down after every 3 times until you hear the pasta snap as if it was going through rollers. At this point you can forget about folding it in half every time as the surface tension is now perfect . Continue to wind it through the rollers to the last or penultimate setting on the machine, depending on how fine you want your pasta. Lay the pasta sheet carefully onto a floured surface. Then repeat this whole process with another lump of dough placing every finished piece carefully onto the floured side as they will be very delicate.
Once all the rolling is done you can then cut your pasta into any desired shape; be it sheets, tagliatelle, ravioli. You can cook your pasta immediately for around 3-5 minutes. If you are making ravioli remember to keep your pasta moist as the pasta case will not seal and close if too dry. So in this case fill your parcels first, seal and then leave to dry. You can freeze any extra dough for up to 1 month, just bag it up, label and enjoy whenever you're in the Italian mood!