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Apartment-made pasta

November 10, 2009
Ciao, ragazzi!
As promised, I managed to wrangle someone (thanks, Ilya!) into taking pictures of me while I made homemade pasta.
I was going to write a little something about the history of pasta, but it turns out that everyone’s version of this history depends on how you define “pasta” and whether you are Italia-centric or not.
There are a variety of ways to make homemade pasta, but I’m going to show you the simplest way I found. Aren’t you glad?
2 eggs
1 cup of flour (I used the same flour that I used to make cupcakes, but please let me know if there is some better, more magical pasta flour that you’ve used)
1 pasta maker (aka Pastalina, my darling hunk of metal)
kneading mat (optional, but oh so handy)
Step one:
Dump the one cup of flour onto your kneading surface (which should be clean and dry) and make it look like a little Mt. Vesuvius. In a small bowl, beat the two eggs together.

Now, pour the beaten eggs into the volcano. Using a fork, mix the eggs and flour together on your surface. You’re going to make a mess – get over it!

At a certain point, put aside the fork (I know, it’s hard, but you can do it) and finish mixing the egg and flour by hand.
*Do not put your fingers in your mouth after touching the raw egg. That is a no-no.
2) Once the ingredients seem evenly combined, start kneading the dough. You’ll need to do this for about 5 minutes.

Kneading is hard work!
Check out my awesome technique!
If you are unfamiliar with how to knead pasta dough, or any dough, you can check out some techniques online. A quick Youtube search will bring you quite a few results. Make sure to look for “how to knead pasta dough” or something similar. Otherwise, you’ll find techniques on how to knead dough for breads that rise. You don’t want that.
My basic kneading technique involves pushing the dough with the heel of my hand across the surface of the counter, turning the dough, kneading, turning, kneading, etc.
The recipe calls for kneading the dough for 8 minutes, but I found that 5 minutes of kneading worked well. The whole point of all this kneading is to “strengthen the gluten” or to make a dough that won’t tear in the pasta maker.
When your dough is completely kneaded, you should be able to stretch out the dough (like I’m doing in the picture below) without tearing the dough.

Next, cut the dough into 3 equal pieces and then thin them out by stretching them until they are about 1/4 inch thick.
When using a pasta maker, always set the rollers at the widest setting first.
Pastalina has “7 settings of wonder” and I put the dough through setting #7, the widest, first and then turned the crank to run the dough between the rollers.
Next, I set the rollers to #6 and put the dough through again, and so on until I got to setting #1.
Eventually, your dough will get very thin and very long.
You could leave this out to dry to make lasagna or cut it up and make ravioli, but I wanted some fettuccine so I ran it through Pastalina’s ‘sketty-side.’
(Yeah, I realize it says ‘Al Dente’ on Pastalina. Apparently, Al is Pastalina’s ex-boyfriend and she doesn’t really want to talk about him or how much she regrets this “tattoo.”)
And then layed out each individual strand of pasta to dry on paper towels.
Fresh pasta can lay out anywhere from 10 minutes to 24 hours in fairly dry conditions (say, an A/C’d Louisiana apartment in October), but after it is dried you’ll need to store it in an airtight container.
To cook, simply throw the pasta into a pot of boiling water (no oil) for about 2-4 minutes depending on how al dente you like your pasta.
Buon appetito!
3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2009 9:06 am

    You forgot to mention that being barefoot is a critical component to making fresh pasta.And don't tell Pastalina – but I've seen Al Dente out and about in the North End of Boston…he's a man-slut.Joce

  2. November 28, 2009 10:39 pm

    Look at you bragging about your fancy schmancy pasta machine. You know, I read somewhere that they're very handy in making breadsticks. . . just an idea.

  3. December 28, 2009 10:58 am

    Why, oh why, the movie "Julie and Julia"?? Why not "Sarah and Sara"??You are far more witty and funny than Nora Ephron – she's so pedestrian, you could walk all over her (LOL)!Smooches~Auntie Nancy

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