Friday, November 22, 2013

Fresh Egg Pasta

Few things are as simple and perfect as real, fresh pasta. However, most of us don't have the luxury of nonnas slaving away in our kitchens every afternoon, churning out linguine, spaghetti and tagliatelle in time for us to make dinner. Most of us Westerners (me included) also abuse our pasta by drowning it in sauce and/or cheese - meaning the fine qualities of an artisan pasta are lost anyway.

All this means that when the opportunity to experience the process of making, cooking and eating homemade noodles arises, it is something to savour. The flavour of the silky smooth semolina and egg dough is unlike anything you can buy (fresh or dried), and after the briefest of boils it only takes a mere drizzle of flavourful extra virgin olive (or camelina) oil, maybe a grind or two of black pepper and a clove of minced garlic to achieve the pinnacle of taste. Anything heavier than a light (light!) tomato concasse or a true (i.e. cream-free) carbonara preparation would smother the tender noodles and kill their unique golden hue and rich flavour.

While pasta is inherently simple to make (I'm not talking about the Chinese lye-water noodles, mind you), it does take time and patience. These eggy strands can be tricky (and sticky) to get through the pasta machine (mine couldn't get the dough narrower than linguine), and like pie crust and cookies the mixture is best worked with after a rest period of at least an hour, preferably overnight. However, it is that kind of care that comes through in the finished product... and how can you go wrong with something that tastes like your heart and soul went into it?

Fresh Egg Pasta

Fresh Egg Pasta
Makes 17.5 oz fresh pasta, 7 (2.5 oz) servings (fresh) or 7 (2.25 oz) servings (dry)
10 oz semolina flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 large egg
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup water
  1. Combine flour, salt and eggs in a bowl.
  2. Slowly add water, while mixing constantly, to form a ball of dough (you can use a stand mixer with the dough hook for this).
  3. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead to form a smooth, supple ball - about 10 minutes.
  4. Wrap in cling wrap and place in the refrigerator at least 1 hour, or up to 1 day.
  5. Cut the dough into 2 or 3 pieces and flatten each with a rolling pin.
  6. Fold dough in half and pass it through a pasta machine at its widest setting, refolding and rolling 7 times (not changing the setting) until you have a nice, shiny rectangle.
  7. Now, start decreasing the width of the rollers, working until you have a pasta with a thinness you prefer (I like Jamie Oliver’s description - “coaster” width)
  8. Repeat with remaining dough.
  9. Cut as desired and use right away, freeze or dry for longer storage.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 177.8
Total Fat: 3.1 g
Cholesterol: 105.4 mg
Sodium: 136.3 mg
Total Carbs: 30.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.9 g
Protein: 6.9 g