Honestly, before I made my own pasta I thought it was extremely difficult, time consuming and the outcome would not be good enough to waste my time and money to buy a pasta maker. Also I was told it is not worth buying £20-30 makers, as they do not last long and are difficult to manage.
So when I had the opportunity to shop at CSN Stores my first thought was - pasta machine! I have decided to go for Imperia pasta maker, which costs around £50-60 and seems to be in the middle range of manual pasta makers. I have decided to buy this one, without any attachments to make short pasta or ravioli, because I did not know if making homemade pasta will be fun. Now I know t certainly is!
Right... Perhaps I will introduce you to the machine first. Imperia Double Cutter Pasta Machine came in the box and it was quite heavy, yet not to heavy to handle. It has detachable handle, tabletop screw clamp fitting and full care and use instructions.
The machine consists of two rollers that can be gradually adjusted (6 positions), rolling the pasta into thinner sheets as the handle is turned. Also it comes with tagliatelle and spaghetti attachment. Once the correct thickness has been achieved you can either cut you pasta sheets into your favourite shape or feed it through the cutter.
The rollers and the cutter run smoothly, the maker is solid and once secured to the top it can be one hand operated without sliding. The extra attachment to make short pasta is available and it is matter of time until I buy it, because I already love to make my own pasta. Also, I will use it to roll out the dough for lasagne sheets, handmade ravioli or Polish dumplings. I do not have the attachment to make ravioli, but these are so easy to achieve when you have a perfectly rolled dough. I just make them by hand and pastry cutter.
I am very happy with my new equipment and would recommend making your own pasta to everybody who loves simple Italian food. Homemade pasta does not need fancy ingredients - good quality olive oil, garlic, basil and parmesan are more than enough. Let pasta speak for itself.
Now, I tell you how to make your own pasta. I used recipe from fabulous book "Made in Italy. Food and the stories" by Giorgio Locatelli for fresh egg pasta using Italian "00" type flour. You can use one egg for every 100g of flour, however it is good to add some extra egg yolks. The more egg yolks you add the more brittle the pasta becomes.
Makes about 600g
500g Italian "00" (doppio zero) flour
3 large eggs in room temperature
2 egg yolks (optional, you can use whole extra eggs)
pinch of salt
Preferably make pasta by hand, especially when you make small amount as it can be difficult to mix well by food processor.
Sieve the flour into a bowl, then turn into a mound onto a clean surface and make a well in the middle. Sprinkle the salt into a well and then crack in the eggs.
You can have a bowl of water on the side, so you can wet your hands to help bring the dough together if it getting too difficult towards the end of kneading.
To begin brake the egg yolks with your fingertips and then begin to move your fingers in a circular motion, gradually incorporating the flour until you have worked in enough to start bringing in together in a ball. The you start to work the ball of dough by pushing it with the heel of your hand, then folding the top back to itself, repeating again and again.
To make the dough you have to spend a good 10minutes on kneading, the dough should come together and feel quite stiff. However it is no good to overdo the dough. You need to leave it in damp cloth for about 1 hour to rest and it will become softer.
Next roll the pasta using a rolling pin first so it is not too thick when rolling in the machine, about 1 cm thick is enough. Put the machine of the thickest setting and start rolling. You have to support the rolled dough with you hand so it will not fold or stick. Change to next setting and roll again. Repeat another 2-3 times taking the setting down every time.
Next fold the pasta onto itself, put the machine into first setting and put the pasta through. Repeat 2-3 times, changing the setting to thinner. If you feel the dough is too sticky dust with very little flour. The final dough should be about 1.5mm thick, shiny and with no lines in it. You can use it to make long pasta using cutting attachment, or cut it by hand. Also you can cut it into lasagne dish or use t to make filled pasta such as tortellini or ravioli. You can dried it and keep in the paper bag, or in the jar or you can use it straight away.
Fresh egg pasta needs only about 3-4 minutes of cooking.
Also today I will show the recipe from the same book for a classic pesto that is delicious with homemade pasta. Homemade pesto is much better than a shop bought one, as the shop bought one can be too garlicky and has chemical smell and taste.
Makes small jar
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp of pine nuts, slightly toasted
250g basil leaves
2 tbsp pecorino or parmesan cheese, grated
around 300ml extra virgin olive oil
tiny pinch of salt
Either in the food processor with a sharp blade or using pestle and mortar start with the garlic and salt. Smash the garlic, then add the nuts and crush them, but try not to overwork them. Drop in the basil leaves a few at time and work them in as quickly as possible. Then add you cheese and oil until you have bright, green paste. The quicker you bring it together the brighter the colour will be as you will not generate too much heat.
Place in the jar, cover with layer of oil keep refrigerated. It will keep for 6 months, especially if you used young basil that did not start to flower.
I fight my demons, vol. 1