Homemade pasta, some have the chance to learn the traditional techniques at culinary schools and many others, like me, learn at home. They are a little bit intimidating and tricky so, before making the jump, you want to be ready. Internet, books, your grandmother, magazines; you look for tips a little bit everywhere, because every first time is important, especially this one…
On my first time (of making homemade pasta-of course-) I checked all I could and on the Internet and it all explained how easy it is to make. To my surprise after spending a long afternoon in the kitchen, I realized how challenging perfect pasta is to create. After the pasta was cooked, it had this rubber texture combined with a rich egg taste, definitely not the sexiest, especially on a first date….
After some elbow grease and a few disappointments, I finally figured out some tips that I am sharing with you today. You will have all the tools (and no excuse) to succeed and at least, I won’t feel bad about ruining your date 😉
1. The ingredients
4, and only 4 elements: Flour, eggs, olive oil, and salt. You always use one egg for 100 grams of T55 flour, some people say you should use wheat semolina in addition to the flour for better handling, bullshit. Your pasta will taste great and handle perfectly if you don’t have it.
2. KitchenAids are good, your hands are better
I do have a kitchenAid at home and I use it to mix the dough. I though at first it would be efficient and “no hand” would be needed. In fact, food processors are good to gather the dough but you still need to knead it for 7-10 REAL minutes in order to give more elasticity.
3. Leave the dough to rest
But not anyhow: People will tell you you can either use a wet kitchen towel or cellophane paper. The wet kitchen towel is the worth idea ever, it will either dry your dough or moisture it way to much. The cellophane will workout perfectly. They also say to set it aside in a cool place, well, room temperature works better.
4. Go old school, go with a glass bottle
As a geek, I use to have all the pasta kid; the hand pasta maker, the ravioli molds, the pasta dryer. I was probably thinking that it would make the pasta taste better…
>>> It’s all USELESS. You have a much better shape & texture by using a glass bottle of wine to spread your dough:
-It’s heavier so easier to spread
-The dough sticks less to glass: The dough has the bad habit to get stuck in between the 2 teeth of your pasta machine. It’s annoying to clean and if you don’t clean it the dough will keep getting stuck and making holes in your pasta strip.
-It’s easier to wash
5. Flour, flour and more flour
When spreading the dough, I always thought that using extra flour would dry it and give a really bad texture. In fact, you NEED to add a lot of flour, it’s the trick for your pasta to get really thin and stay thin. So, every time it sticks on the bottle, add a little bit of flour on each side until you get the good thickness.
6. Le coup de main – The dough
Your pasta bands have to be really thin, almost transparent. Because pasta get thicker when cooked, the thinner they are raw, the better texture they will be.
Always start to flatter the dough from the middle to the upper part. Roll, roll and roll again till it get SUPER thin.
Use the back of a chair with a kitchen towel to dry your pasta, if you have to many, hang a broom in between 2 chairs and you’ll be good.
8. Be proud of the “homemade look”
It’s fine if your pasta are not perfectly rectangular, it will give character to your dish. After a few tries, you will play with it and even make this “tulips” effect.
9. Cooking time
Water and salt. Don’t use olive oil, it’s the combination of salt and flour that makes your pasta not sticky. When the water boils, cook the thin pasta for 2 minutes and the thicker ones for 3 minutes (yeah, you won’t be able to only make amazingly transparent pasta, it’s part of the game 🙂 )
10. The oldest, the better
Cook all your pasta and don’t hesitate to keep the left overs in the fridge for 1 or 2 days before eating it. It will taste even better 🙂