Make Pasta at Home


Making your own pasta is a rewarding kitchen task. And it tastes so good!

By FamilyTime

 

Pasta, one of the most versatile foods in the pantry, is simple to make at home. While you may not have time to make your own very often, every now and then it is a gratifying culinary task.

Homemade sheets of pasta dough are wonderful for tender ravioli and full-bodied lasagna. When cut into strands of varying width, the pasta can be sauced with delicate butter and cheese sauces.

Dried pasta is actually a better choice for robust tomato and meat sauces. It is a little sturdier. But you won't go wrong with your own homemade pasta either!

The Dough
Pasta dough is nothing more exotic than flour, eggs, and perhaps a little water and oil.

The method for mixing the dough does not vary from Sienna to Seattle. Heap the dough on a clean work surface, make a well in the center, and break the eggs into the well. Mix the dough, pulling flour from the wall of the well into the eggs.

Pasta dough should be kneaded just until it is smooth, satiny, and elastic. Sprinkling it with flour as you work prevents sticking, but as with any dough, use a light hand with the flour.

Once kneaded, the dough should be divided into quarters, wrapped in plastic and allowed to rest for about 30 minutes.

Rolling and Cutting the Dough

Clean the work surface and sprinkle it with a fresh layer of flour. Pat or roll a piece of dough into a circle that is as thick as the recipe requires, or is the right width for your pasta machine.

The trick to making pasta is to stretch the dough without tearing it. A hand-cranked pasta machine makes this easy, although you can do with a rolling pin.

Pasta can be cut free-hand with a sharp knife. Hand-cranked machines have cutting attachments, which easily cut the strands to the desired width and shape.

Expensive electric pasta extruding machines are a significant investment and not necessary unless you plan to make a lot of pasta often.

Drying, Cooking, and Storing
Freshly made pasta is best cooked on the day it's made. Spread it on a flour-dusted baking sheet, sprinkle with a little more flour, and let it dry until it no longer feels sticky.

You can gather the dried pasta into loose bunches and store them in plastic bags in the refrigerator for a few days. If you put them in paper bags, they will continue to dry out at room temperature. Well-wrapped in plastic, pasta can be frozen for a month.

Cook the pasta only until al dente – so that it still has some "bite." With fresh pasta, this may take from one to three minutes.

Serving homemade pasta turns an ordinary meal into a spectacular one!