Making pasta is a bit of an effort. Fancy chefs and book writers will tell you that it’s easy peasy and basically it is, but it is an effort. And a mess. If you do it properly.
I got a pasta maker for Christmas just because I was intrigued and then six months later I got a job at a pasta shop making fresh pasta with Italians everyday. Fresh pasta is potentially addictive.
Since working at a pasta shop (or pastificio) I have learnt a few tricks and sneaks. Here are some mixed in with a basic pasta recipe.
3 eggs – you want eggs with the orangiest yolks. The ones I know to have the best middle yolk orange is a farm called Clarence Court. They definitely sell them at Waitrose (fancee) and I’m pretty sure Sainsburys and some others small trendy places. They can vary in size which is worth checking. See the next point. Which hopefully you will read. It’s coming up next.
300g ‘00’ Flour – Basically just super super fine flour. It’s really nice and soft. You can make pasta with plain flour but why not just do it properly, you dick.
The real amount of flour you will need depends on your egg size. Guess what if you have small eggs you need less flour.
Make a volcano of flour on a clean large work surface. Don’t use the full amount of flour – leave yourself maybe even 100g to the side to play with, an over floury dough is just a great big butt of a waste of time. Make the sides of your volcano as high as you can, its got to hold sloppy eggs. If your eggs are massive coz your chickens have loose butts then use more flour.
Break the eggs into the well of the volcano then break the yolks and mix them together with a fork without an overflow, as if you were making an omelette in your flour bowl. Then gradually with your fork add flour from the sides of the well. Try and keep the fork flat against the surface table word while mixing the eggs and flour. Do this gently and gradually and thoroughly, basically none of the fun words, until you can get your hands involved when you have a workable dough ball. Start kneading and gradually adding more flour until you have a very soft and smooth dough.
Wrap it in horrible clingfilm and leave it to rest for minimum 30 minutes.
Then buy a pasta machine. Put some of the dough through on the largest setting, folding it a couple of times and feeding it through. Then continue on through the thicknesses (urghhhhhh) until you have the required thickness (uurghhhhh) of pasta. Some recommended thicknesses (urrgggggggghhhhhhh)
Depending on the size and filling of your pasta it will take different times to cook. If you eat them immediately after making them, between 3-5 minutes. If you leave them for a while or until the next day it will be a few minutes for between 4-6 minutes.
Tagliatelle – Thicker. Instead of the thinnest setting on your machine, use the second to thinnest.
Before you feed the pasta sheets through the cutter application leave them to dry for a couple of minutes, otherwise you will have sticky pasta strands. You can also leave them to dry once they have been cut. It’s a delicate balance between dry enough and too dry. You want to be able to manipulate and twist the pasta but not let it stick together.
Cook for two minutes fresh and four when dry if you leave it for a day or so.
Pappadelle – Delicious wide strands, perfect for ragus. Cook time same as above.
Before you ask there is no such thing as fresh spaghetti. It has other names. Don’t be that fool. Oh and ravioli refers to any type, shape and size of filled pasta.
I will feature more recipes for specific pastas this is just for basics. So that no one gets confused and shouting.