Fresh pasta is something special
Fresh pasta is so different to the dried stuff, and surprisingly easy to make! It’s soft, silky, and oh so yummy.
All you need is flour, eggs, and a pasta machine, which is relatively cheap to buy these days. A basic pasta recipe involves 1 egg for every 100gms flour. Regular flour will work, but if you can find OO flour use that, as its finer.
All you do is put your flour on the bench (or in a bowl which is what I do as it makes less mess) make a well in the centre of the flour, and crack the eggs into the centre. Slowly incorporate the flour into the eggs until it makes a dough. Knead the dough on the bench using a pushing and pulling motion, until the dough becomes smooth and silky (you can really tell when it becomes smooth, so if your not sure keep going because you’re not there yet). Shape the dough into a ball, cover with cling film, and pop it into the fridge for 20-30mins to chill.
Take the chilled dough out of the fridge, cut it into 2-3 pieces (depending on how much dough you have made) to make it manageable through the pasta machine. Start rolling! On the widest setting, pass it through the pasta machine a few times, folding the pasta over into thirds before passing it back through for the first few passes. If you find it is tearing you probably have too much dough that you’re trying to squeeze through, so cut a bit off and try again.
Start reducing the thickness by going down a setting each pass. Keep going until you get to your desired thickness. I use around the 2nd last thickness for fettuccine, and the thinnest for ravioli. NEVER pull the pasta as it is passing through the machine as you will stretch it out, let the machine do the work, and just gently ease the pasta through so as not to catch.
To make fettuccine, you can use an attachment for your pasta machine, or simply roll up the dough and slice in your desired strand thickness. Or what I like to do is make rag pasta, which means you roughly cut large shards of pasta, its rustic but a delicious way to use fresh pasta. Once you’ve cut it, gently toss it in flour to prevent it from sticking to each other.
Taggliateli or rag pasta works great with a traditional ragu style sauce.
Or you can use the sheets to make ravioli and fill with whatever takes your fancy. I like to fill mine with a combination of ricotta, parmesan, and roasted pumpkin, and serve it with a brown butter, sage and pine nut sauce, yum! The great thing with ravioli is that you can use the ricotta as a base and make the rest up with whatever flavours are your favourites.
Nothing will impress your friends more than freshly made pasta, and they won’t know just how easy it was to make!