January is the month to put all resolutions to practice, right? Well, I made quite a few resolutions for 2011 (I must have been drunk) and unfortunately I haven't been very successful in keeping many of them so far. So far, I say, because I will persevere.
One of my many resolutions was to finally get down to making my own pasta. I've been wanting to do it for at least a year. In fact, it was about six months ago when my friend Shirley challenged me to make ravioli from scratch. I took up the challenge quite willingly when she posed it.
"Sure," said I, "I'll do it. Next week, I'll do it!".
Many weeks have since gone by and I've yet to make my home-made ravioli. My excuse? Well, it's a lame one but it is that I don't have a pasta machine! I know I could easily buy one (after all a basic, no-name-brand machine really doesn't cost much at all) but I don't make pasta often enough to warrant buying (another) gadget to clutter up my already cluttered kitchen. Plus, making pasta is just soooo messy and I had visions of me with flour in my hair, egg yolks splattered on my apronless shirt, etc. Not a pleasant vision, I promise. So many excuses, I mean reasons why I kept procrastinating.
And then I went on Diner's Journal (Mark Bittman's column in the New York Times) last week and I had no more excuses. Damn you, Mr Bittman. (No, no, I really don't mean that). With a video to for illustrate his point (that its really easy to make pasta at home) Bittman shared his super fast way to make pasta -- where you don't have to get your hands (and body, as in my vision of myself) all floury and eggy. He used a food processor.
I don't have a food processor but, hey, I wasn't going to use this as yet another excuse. Not anymore because Bittman made the whole process look like child's play. [You have to read his piece HERE and watch the video too].
I used my stand mixer to do the job of the food processor: mixing the flour and the eggs together. Bittman made Fazzoletti (handkerchief pasta) with his dough but I decided to cut the dough into ribbons - ala fettuccini.
Bittman was right. It wasn't difficult. And though dry pasta is fantastic, nothing beats the taste of fresh pasta. And homemade fresh pasta tastes even better because, heck, you made it yourself. There is something to be said about personal satisfaction.
2 cups of flour
3 egg yolks + 2 whole eggs.
Some water (just keep aside a half cup
A pinch of salt.
* The egg yolks (that would be five in all) give the dough a nice yellow colour and the whites give it some elasticity
Put the flour + a pinch of salt in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the yolks and the eggs and (using a paddle attachment) mix the ingredients together (low speed) just until they come together.
Transfer onto a floured surface and knead the dough for about 5 mins. Form into a ball, flour the ball lightly (all over) and wrap in cling flim. Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.
Once rested, cut the dough into quarters. Time to roll the dough, one quarter at a time. Flatten the quartered dough into a thick oval dish using the palm of your hand. Lightly flour your rolling pin. Starting from the center of the disc, roll outwards till the disc becomes a very, very thin sheet. Make sure the dough/surface on which youa re rolling and your rolling pin are all always slightly floured so that nothing sticks.
Now cut the edges of the rolled out dough so you get a rectangle. Now you can start cutting the strips from the rectangle. Once the strips have been cut, pile the noodles on a floured baking sheet/plate and sprinkle with more flour and cover loosely with a cloth or clingfilm. Do the same with the remaining dough.
Now it's time to cook the pasta. You cook fresh pasta cooks the same way you would dry pasta but the fresh stuff cooks faster. Plonk the pasta into a pot of salted boiling water and cook for about 5 mins. How you serve the pasta is, of course, up to you. I tossed it with sauteed garlic, breadcrumbs and chilli flakes. And also, because I couldn't resist, some parmesan.