Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Homemade Pasta

Yes, folks. Homemade pasta.

I have always considered pasta something that one buys, or comes from a tree or whatever. I just never put that much thought into it. But some time ago, I began to wonder just what would homemade pasta entail. How much work goes into it? I mean it had to originate somewhere besides a pasta factory. So I did a little online sleuthing and came up with the following recipe for egg noodles:

2 cups of flour
a few dashes of baking powder
and 2 largish eggs
Some water and salt

Many recipes say to do this part on the counter but I chickened out and did this part in a large mixing bowl. Combine flour, baking powder and a dash of salt. Make a well in the center. Add eggs. Mix with a fork from the center until dough becomes sticky. Then work it together with your hands, adding water a little at a time until dough is pliable. This part is supposed to be part of the 'magic' or 'art' or 'science' or whatever it is that separates magical cooking type of people from those of us who eat cereal a lot. Anyway, when the dough "feels right" roll it into a ball.

In several recipes this part calls for the use of a pasta machine but, my favorite recipe said that Italian grandma's have been doing this just fine with their bare hands for generations, so that's how I elected to do it. On a well floured surface knead the dough until smooth. Divide into three or four small segments. Roll one section as flat as you would like for it to be and then cut with a knife or pizza cutter into long or short, flat strips. These strips can be laid out to dry or hung up on a wire rack. They can also be plunged immediately into fast boiling water, but this part is tricky.

I wanted to go ahead and use my pasta so I already had a pot of salted water boiling rapidly. Once I sliced up my pasta into small rectangles I took my large spatula and scooped it up off the counter and into the hot water. The directions said to stir keep the water boiling and stir frequently to keep pasta from sticking, and only to boil for about 3-4 minutes since pasta is already soft.

When I felt like the pasta was done, (more 'magic cooking art') I drained it out. This yielded probably about 1/2 of pasta or two helpings.

I ate mine with some chicken soup that I had made with leftover chicken and veggies in a chicken broth. It was quite tasty. Even my husband approved, saying that they seemed a lot heartier than what you would buy at the store.

While the turnout of the noodles was nowhere near the store bought kind (they seemed more like dumplings), I did enjoy the process and hope to set aside a day for pasta making sometime in the near future. This way we can have some on hand, I will get practice at it, and most importantly I WILL KNOW WHAT I AM EATING!! which is really what this whole experiment is about.

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