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Archive for January, 2016

Boy oh boy it’s been a while I suppose… I have not been idle; However my projects have been during more hectic times so I have been less inclined to post about them, especially when they have been mostly just variations of something else I’ve already done.  (I’ve done a lot of muffins thanks to all my berry picking this past fall)

I’ve always wanted to try making pasta from scratch and it finally happened after a discussion with a colleague at work about how relatively easy it is to do.  We did a little online research and found the following site to start off with, and augmented the recipe with a cross reference from my Joy of Cooking book.

Ingredients are pretty simple :

  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of white flour
  • 3 egg yolks (the yellow bit)
  • 3 whole eggs (the whole bit…)

*Note that you will probably have to change yours based on what kind of flour you use.  I think the more whole wheat flour you use the more egg you’ll have to use to get it to the right consistency.

The process isn’t difficult at all it’s just a little tedious :

  1. Sift your flours together and find a nice clean counter top to do the mixing process.
  2. Make a volcano out of your flour and make a magma pool in the middle with your eggs and yolks.
  3. Take a fork and start smooching your “magma” in the middle as you slowly add small portions of flour in at a time.  When it starts to look well mixed and begins to have the consistency of dough then you can start consolidating it into a dough ball.
  4. Now for the messy step, you need to kneed to the dough.  It takes a fair bit of elbow grease but eventually you should end up with a ball of dough that doesn’t look powdery. The site mentioned above has some great pictures to address if it’s to dry and what not.  As I said above, we had to add more egg to the original recipe.
  5. Wrap up the ball in saran wrap or plastic wrap and let it rest for ideally about 3 hours; However I have been told by the same colleague that 15 minutes is enough.  I guess it depends on how much in a hurry you are.  The website goes into much greater detail on what kind of difference it makes.  Judge for yourself.
  6. Rolling. If I was going to continue doing this regularly (which I might) I would get a bunch of pasta making machines and devices.  On our first try it seemed silly to go buy a bunch of stuff I may never use again.  So I armed myself with the counter top and a rolling pin and a little bit of flour and off I went :
  • Cut your ball in 4 equal quarters.  This will just make the whole process easier to deal with.
  • Lightly flour the counter and rub a little on the rolling pin to avoid sticking.  Although, I have to admit the dough was more pretty stretchy and thus there wasn’t much sticking to deal with.
  • Roll it as thin and you can possibly roll it, preferably as close to a rectangle / long oval shape that you can manage (you’ll see why after).
  • Roll it more.  It has to be paper thin… I thought mine was thin enough but it appears it was about twice as thick as it should have been.  Hence why I called it Fattuccine.  Our research site shows a process of folding it onto itself a rolling it again, which may have helped but I was finding it was difficult to get it to recombine.
  • If you have a machine, just feed it through the machine with the desired piece to get that kind of pasta you are looking for.  For linguine / fettuccine… just cut it into equally sized strips (this is why you want it to be as close to a rectangle as possible.  You want to avoid having  different lengths of pasta).
  • I found that the side pieces were much thinner than the middle ones, so though is something I want to try next time.  It may be advantageous to cut the thinner pieces and then continue to roll the dough until you’ve thinned more out. repeat.
  • When you’re done each section you can divide slices into each little piles, almost like coiling a rope.  Just drop hold them from the top and let them coil into a bird next like pile.  This helps them not dry out while you’re working on the other sections.

 

Pasta_2016-2

If you think it’s thin enough… roll it thinner.  And then do it again just to be sure.

Pasta_2016-1

Pasta nests

The cooking process is the best part.  The suggested boiling time is about 90 seconds.  However, we found that because ours was fattuccine and not fettuccine we had to boil it an extra 30 to 60 seconds.  After that just apply the sauce of your choice and bonne appetti!

Once you have all of your dough cut, you can actually freeze the bundles and put them in the freezer.  I’m not 100% sure how long they would keep but I’d wager they’d be good for a few weeks.  When you cook them after that you just drop the frozen bundle into the boiling water and boil it for an extra 30 seconds or so.  You may have to keep a fork handy to break any stubborn pieces apart.  Below was our final yield, which isn’t too bad when you consider they are probably twice as thick as you should have them.  So if you do the math, you may get about twice as much as this if you have the dough properly rolled.  We found that two bundles was a good serving for one person.  So one ball of dough has the potential to feed 8 people. Good value for something that cooks so quickly after you get the initial work finished.  I can’t wait to try this with different flour recipes.  I plan to try some spinach or quinoa flour pasta.  May as well jam in as much nutrients as possible :).

Pasta_2016-3

 

PS. The sauce I used it basically the same thing I use for most of my pastas:

  • Half a jar of herb and garlic pasta sauce.
  • Add in a can of tomato soup / sauce.
  • Add in an obscene amount of vegetables (anything you like).
  • Add in Chilli powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and a dash of cumin. (The amounts of spices depends on what you like.  I never measure I just add until I think it’s right / it smells right.  I will note I am always very heavy on chilli powder.)
  • Heat it in a pot till its nice and bubbly, stirring periodically so that you don’t burn everything on the bottom of the pot.

 

I must admit I was pretty stoked when we ate this.  Despite having the noodles a little too fat, the flavour and consistency was pretty awesome.  I’m not sure I’ll be able to go back to regular pasta ever again.  In the end, this just left the wheels spinning in my head on all the kinds of pastas I can try next time.  I was told by the same colleague that there are plenty of youtube videos out there you can watch to help you on how to create the different kinds of pastas.  I will definitely be looking those up 🙂

 

Pasta_2016-4

Top with cheese… always top with cheese.

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