I am having difficulty working out how long I’ve been making my own pasta. It definitely dates back to before we moved to McGregor – and that’s going on eight years now. The motivation for buying a pasta machine was simple: the fresh pasta I had eaten just simply tasted better than the dried stuff.
The Husband wasn’t entirely convinced, but after a windfall one year, we splashed out. It does take some perseverence – like with most things – to get pasta just right.
Now, I’ve had years of practice. Home made pasta is quick and easy – just two ingredients if you’re going to use it immediately. Three or four if you’re going to make a batch to dry and store. I’ve done both. To do the latter, The Husband made me a collapsible drying rack.
A basic pasta is just egg and flour. Mine is a ratio of 100 g of plain flour to 1 jumbo egg (between 66 and 72 g). I know that one should use 00 flour. I admit that I never have. A single batch makes two portions.
To make a larger batch to dry and store, I found that the optimum quantity – for four meals was 400 g of flour and 4 eggs, a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil.
I used to make it by hand: dropping the egg into a well in the flour and mixing it until it pulled together to form a dough which I kneaded. Now, I admit that I use a mixer. It’s quicker and, on a hot summer’s night, much more manageable.
Allow to rest. I usually use the resting time to make the sauce or whatever we’re having with the pasta. Usually a salad as an antipasti. By that time, the pasta’s ready for rolling.
Rolling the pasta
Once the pasta has rested, divide it into pieces that are easy to roll – don’t make them too long unless you have octopus arms. If the dough is too wet, dust flour over the strips as you feed them through the machine until it’s uniform and thin.
To use the pasta fresh it doesn’t need long to dry. Liberally sprinkle with flour so that it doesn’t stick together. I tend to hand cut the pasta to ribbon size I want.
What I have learned about portion size and being satisfied
Before I made pasta, we’d eat about 250 g of commercial pasta per two person meal. When I made batches and stored it, just 100 g was sufficient for the two of us – with accompaniments, of course. The Husband was surprised: he has a voracious appetite and does eat for two. Where it all goes, I’m blowed if I know. However, after a portion of home made pasta, preceded by a salad, he tells me that he’s more than satisfied.
I hasten to add that home made pasta is one of the few remaining ways that I eat carbohydrate during the week.
Cooking fresh pasta
Fresh pasta literally takes no time to cook. Bring the water to a rolling boil and add a handful – yes, a handful – of salt to the water. Add the fresh pasta, stirring so that it doesn’t stick together. When the water comes to the boil, the pasta is cooked.
Drain. Either return it to the pan and add the accompaniments or turn it into the sauce of choice.
Of course the sheets can be cut to size and used for lasagne or to make ravioli or canneloni or…a saucy mac & cheese.
We have a pasta night at least once a week. We do have our favourites, but pasta is also a fantastic way to use up leftovers or to throw together a quick meal. With the sudden enforcement stay at home I’ve had surplus stocks from my market fare. I’ve also had things in the fridge that need eating.
Just before the lockdown, I’d made a batch of chicken liver paté – a best seller. Clearly that didn’t sell. It doesn’t have an eternal shelf life. The Husband is very gracious: for lunch he loves cucumber and chicken liver paté sandwiches. He’s had them for lunch for nearly three weeks, bar the weekends when we brunch.
Last week, we had some glorious autumn weather so I thought a warm (rather than hot) supper would work. In the fridge, in addition to the chicken liver paté: roasted butternut. In the vegetable rack: red onion. In the garden: fresh sage.
What I did
I sautéed the red onion with some garlic and then added the butternut to warm through. I finely sliced about 8 fresh sage leaves – reserving some for garnish. Before adding this mix to the hot pasta, I stirred through about 75 g of my homemade chicken liver paté.
Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa
- This post has come about for a number of reasons:
- Blogpal and fellow Saffa, @lizelle, and I were chatting about homemade pasta the other day, so here it is.
- In this time of compulsory stay at home, things are running out, and this two ingredient, left over supper, is immenently doable.
- Pasta making is also a fabulous family activity. Get the children to mix, knead roll and festoon the kitchen with drying pasta. Coat hangers and chairbacks work as well as a fancy drying rack.
- I’m participating in blogpal @tracyork’s April challenge of sharing a post every day during April – on the Hive blockchain. I succeeded last year – on Steemit from which the new blockchain “hived off”…
- It seems a good way to constructively use the time during a compulsory lock down, right? For more about this initiative, please check out Traci’s post.