Homemade pasta is really easy to do if you have a pasta maker at home. Pasta machine is rather cheap and according to my last post dated 2005, I bought it for only RM55. The machine is still spanking new as all the steel rollers of the pasta machine does not rust. I have a recipe for egg pasta in the previous post on pasta maker and ravioli recipe.
I am using Jamie Oliver fresh egg pasta recipe and this recipe calls for 600 grams soft flour and 6 eggs. Just these two ingredients and nothing else. According to Jamie Oliver, he said to use tipo 00 flour which Jamie explained as “this is a very finely sieved flour which is normally used for making egg pasta or cakes. In Italy it’s called farina di grano tenero, which means tender or soft flour.” Previously, I used bread flour or ‘strong flour’. The difference is the gluten content. Strong flour has higher gluten content while soft flour has lower. Actually, one can make pasta with either type of flour.
Anyone can make homemade pasta. Just mix the 600 grams flour with 6 eggs (or you can half the quantity) and keep kneading, punching, slapping, whacking, rolling the dough till it becomes smooth balls. It takes a lot of muscles to knead till you get a smooth dough but it is good exercise for the upper arms. To make it easier to handle, divide the dough into smaller portions.
I watched TV while doing the kneading. My 12 years old boy love to mess with dough, much like Playdoh. So, he helped as well. Incidentally, my son who was at college was learning to make fresh pasta in KDU!
Jamie Oliver recommended to wrap the smoothen balls of dough with cling wrap and keep it in the fridge for one hour. I am not sure why but he said kneading action will cause the gluten to make the pasta springy and al dente so I guess the process is to make the pasta firmer.
If there are more pairs of hands to make pasta, it is easier and more fun. My younger kids get all excited when I agree to do fresh pasta because they love the mess.
We get a big batch of fresh pasta. I made both fettucine and spaghettini. The process of getting them are :
1) Take a small ball of dough, put it through the biggest setting (no. 7) on the pasta machine.
2) You will get a flatten piece of oblong dough.
3) Reduce the thickness by 2 number, i.e. no. 7 > no. 5
4) Further make it thinner to no. 3
5) By now, you have a very long, thin strip of pasta. Use plenty of flour to keep them from sticking.
6) For fettucine, I roll it to no. 1 thinness and then, put it through the broad cutter to get fettucine.
7) For spaghettini, I use no. 2 and put it through the thin cutter.
That looks like a lot of instructions but you actually just go by feel. My 12 years old boy is an expert now.
I boil the pasta in boiling water and then, dunk them in tepid water before transferring over to the carbonara sauce I made with cream. Oooh..it is the best fettucine carbonara ever.
The cost of making a 600 grams pasta is only about RM5. I used the more expensive Omega 3 eggs as I like the orangey colour. Flour only costs about RM2.30. I think the quantity of pasta is enough for 8 adults. The taste of the pasta is really lovely as it has the eggy richness. Dried pasta do not have eggs.
So, want to try making pasta at home? Jamie Oliver said, (I know I am parroting him like he is god) in Italy, they do not even use a machine. The Italian mamas use a rolling pin to roll the dough and then, cut them finely.