I’ve mentioned a number of times how obsessed I am with Masterchef Australia. I actually applied to Masterchef Canada (which is quite different) but didn’t get past the interview round. Oh well. The point is, I realized that if I were to ever aspire to any sort of Masterchef dream I would have to learn the basics, sans recipe. I noticed that some people go on the show (not the Australian version) and don’t know a basic pasta or pie dough or cake recipe. Isn’t it obvious that something of that sort is going to come up?
Anyway, I decided to work on my pasta making skills since I remember it being easy from the few times I’ve made it but could not remember the proportions at all. What I discovered is that it’s probably the easiest thing to remember in the world. At it’s most basic, all pasta is, is flour and eggs. You need 100g of all purpose flour and 1 large egg per serving and you’re good. As such, I always use 200g of all purpose flour and 2 large eggs to make my dough. You knead it together for 10 minutes, let it rest for 30 minutes, roll it out and you have pasta! It’s really awesome actually.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you make pasta:
1- As the pasta rests the moisture will distribute through the dough and will become softer and easier to work with. You may have to add up to 1/2 tablespoon of water to make the dough come together, but don’t add too much, the dough really comes together and becomes smooth after 10 minutes of kneading. Make sure to rest it at least 30 minutes or the texture won’t be right.
2- When you are rolling out your pasta, start on the widest setting in the pasta machine. You have to ‘laminate’ the pasta, which basically means putting it through the machine, folding it in half, decreasing the width of the pasta machine, putting it through the machine, folding it in half, until you get the desired thickness.
3- Depending on the type of pasta you are making, you will want different thickness to the dough. For pasta like ravioli or tortellini, I like to make it as thin as possible so that the edges (where there are two pieces of pasta stuck together) are still tender.
4- If you are making long strands of pasta, like fettuccine or linguine, flour your sheet of pasta well (once it’s completely rolled out to the thickness you want), cut it so the longest part is the length you want your pasta to be, roll it up loosely and cut the pasta according to the width you want (check out the pictures above for more clarity). If you don’t flour the sheet before you cut it, it will be a total pain to unroll.
As it says in the title, this is pasta 101. It’s just to get you started, and I’m sure a lot of you will never want to or need to delve further into the world of pasta than this, but I probably will. I know that there are countless possibilities and considerations that can be taken into account like whether your pasta needs more bite to it, whether you want to flavour the pasta itself (and turn it wild colours) with something like spinach or herbs, but that’s for another time. For now, all you need to know is you can easily make delicious, homemade pasta, with the most easy to remember recipe in the world.
The photos you see here are when I made this homemade tagliatelle with creamy tomato sauce and some shiitake mushroom ravioli (recipe to go up next week!), which were both delicious. If you don’t have a pasta roller, I know that people have been making pasta without them for hundreds of years but it requires quite a bit of arm muscle power. I’ve never done it. I totally cheaped out on my machine and bought it for $20. It’s a piece of junk that constantly falls apart when I am rolling the pasta out, but it still works, but I would suggest maybe investing in something other than the cheapest model if you can.
Please remember that this is the proportions per person, so if you're serving four people use 400g of flour and 4 large eggs etc.
Dump your flour onto a clean work surface.
Make a small well in the middle of the flour.
Crack eggs into well.
Using your fingers, slowly incorporate the eggs into the flour until a shaggy dough forms.
Knead the dough for 10 minutes, adding a tiny bit of water if necessary. Be patient, the dough may seem dry at first, but keep kneading and it will come together.
Once your dough is smooth, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.
If you are making pasta for two people, cut the dough in half and leave the other half covered while you roll out the first portion (if you try to put too much dough through the machine, it will get really unmanageable).
Put your pasta roller on the widest setting and process the dough through the machine. Fold the dough in half and pass it through again. Make the setting on the pasta machine a little narrower. Complete this process until your dough is the required thickness.
Depending on the type of pasta you are making, you will want different thickness (thinnest is stuffed pasta like ravioli, 2nd or 3rd thinnest for long pasta like tagliatelle).
If you are cutting your pasta into long strands, lightly flour the pasta, cut the longest part into the length you want your pasta to be, roll it loosely along the long length of the sheet and cut it in the width of pasta that you want. Unroll before putting it into salted, boiling water.
If you are making ravioli, you'll need two sheets that are equal sizes. Place about 1 teaspoon of filling and space them about 1 inch apart. brush edges with water. Place the pasta sheet on top of stuffing, press pasta down around the stuffing so there are no air pockets, and pinch the sides together. Cut the raviolis into individual pieces and pinch sides to make sure they are completely sealed.
Cook in salted boiling water, about 3-4 minutes, until al dente.
Fresh pasta 101 Recipe was last modified: June 27, 2014 by