Pasta is the one thing our son actually likes. Ricotta - Spinach Tortellini in particularly.
Perfect for an other holiday cookery action: How to make pasta.
You might ask your self why on earth we have the equipment to make pasta in italy? Well … the other day I was trying out a new locatelli recipe which involved fresh ravioli. As usually I thought I buy the dough in the supermarket but there was none. Seems logical that they don't sell that in italian supermarkets now, but back then it didn't cross my mind ;-) It was already late and all the pasta shops were closed, luckily we discovered a halved prized pasta machine in one corner of the supermarket and my son got totally enthusiastic about it, so we bought it.
Making your on pasta is really easy, the only thing you need is a bit of time, and the result is great! So much better than the dough you buy in supermarkets.
Making the dough:
I recommend making the pasta dough by hand, it easy and you get better feeling when it's done. Pasta dough shouldn't be knead to much.
Have a bowl of water by the side when you start , so you can wet your hands to bring the dought together if needed.
Make a heap with the flour sprinkle over the salt and add the eggs in the middle ( like on the picture). To begin break the yolks with with the fingertips and begin to move your fingers in circles, gradually incorporating the flour. Then bring it together to a ball and start pushing it with the heel of your hand, then fold it back and turn it. Do this for 10 minutes . The dough will still feel rather difficult to work. Don't worry about this. Make two balls and let them sit under a damp cloth for an hour and then they will be perfect.
Rolling your pasta:
Roll the first ball with a rolling pin until it's 1 cm thick. It should go through the machine comfortably and not squeeze it to much this is important.
Now gradually go through all the settings of your machine, turning with one hand and holding the dough with the other. This is a bit tricky as your dough get's longer and longer.
Next fold the the strip of the pasta back on itself and start the whole procedure again ( starting on setting one).
Now cut your strip into have and cover one of them with the damp cloth. Fold the length of the other one into three, bringing one end in and the other over the top of that, so that pasta is the same width as the machine. Roll it with the replying pin so it is no more that 5 mm thick, then put it pack in the machine on setting one and feed it through the machine. This time widthwise not lengthwise. This makes it more elastic. Keep feeding it through this way taking it down two or three settings as you go.
Finally, fold it back on itself, put the machine back on one 1 and take it through the settings until it's about 1.5 mm thick. It should be nice and shiny.
Filling your pasta:
Once you have your dough almost as thin paper you can cut it into smaller pieces. Put the filling in little heaps on the dough. You gonna cover it with more dough, but before you do that brush on some egg white on it so the two layers of dough really stick together . When you stick them together try to get all the air out, this is important otherwise hot water comes in when you cook them and you can really burn the mouth when eating. Cut them with one of these pasta cutters and thats about it.
I do think that I will invest in the ravioli extension that you can buy extra for our machine though.
You can fill you pasta with everything. We did the the classic "ricotta - spinach" but we have to keep working on that one . Ours had to much spinach in it and little men didn't really like it… An other not very successful cookery class I would say, then again we had loads of fun…
Next time we try noodles.