FRESH EGG PASTA

Fresh homemade pasta is a classic of Italian cuisine! For many it is a ritual that is handed down from generation to generation, it is a childhood memory, at home; it is a moment of celebration with family or friends. Before moving to Vancouver I had no idea how to make fresh egg pasta, in Italy you can buy Fresh Pasta at the super market or even better at the local deli.

When I moved here I was really fascinated by all the Italian women, friends of my mother-in-law and not, who invariably made fresh pasta for the family. There is a lot to admire in these women because they really had to learn in an era without Google, without internet!

My mother-in-law told me that the first time she made the pasta she simply put some flour on the table, a few eggs and started to knead, naturally without weighing … all by eye. When I also started making pasta, it was when I really became passionate about cooking. There is nothing more satisfying, in my opinion, than fresh pasta, eggs and flour. And nothing more delicious than a nice plate of tagliatelle with a good ragu ‘.

Now the passion I have for Fresh Pasta I like to pass it on to the ladies and gentlemen that come at my cooking classes. The class on fresh pasta is one of the most requested. My clients / friends are also fascinated by being able to create something precious only with the use of eggs and flour and of course lots of love. We make pasta, ravioli, lasagne, tagliatelle, fettuccine, spaghetti alla chitarra, tortelli, tortellini, agnolotti, cannelloni and whoever has the most ‘put it. My recipe is very simple, for 1 egg is 100 grams of flour.

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 500 grams all purpose flour
  • A sprinkle of love

Method:

Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the pieces of dough together – with a bit of work and some love and attention they’ll all bind together to give you one big, smooth lump of dough! 

You can also make your dough in a food processor if you’ve got one. Just put everything in, whiz until the flour looks like breadcrumbs, then tip the mixture on to your work surface and bring the dough together into one lump, using your hands.

Once you’ve made your dough you need to knead and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, otherwise your pasta will be flabby and soft when you cook it, instead of springy and al dente. 

There’s no secret to kneading. You just have to bash the dough about a bit with your hands, squashing it into the table, reshaping it, pulling it, stretching it, squashing it again. You’ll know when to stop – it’s when your pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. Then all you need to do is wrap it in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it. Make sure the cling film covers it well or it will dry out and go crusty round the edges (this will give you crusty lumps through your pasta when you roll it out, and nobody likes crusty lumps!).

Dust your work surface with some flour, take a lump of pasta dough the size of a large orange and press it out flat with your fingertips. Set the pasta machine at its widest setting – and roll the lump of pasta dough through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks at all. Click the machine down a setting and roll the pasta dough through again. Fold the pasta in half, click the pasta machine back up to the widest setting and roll the dough through again. Repeat this process five or six times. It might seem like you’re getting nowhere, but in fact you’re working the dough, and once you’ve folded it and fed it through the rollers a few times, you’ll feel the difference. It’ll be smooth as silk and this means you’re making wicked pasta!

Now it’s time to roll the dough out properly, working it through all the settings on the machine, from the widest down to around the narrowest. Lightly dust both sides of the pasta with a little flour every time you run it through. When you’ve got down to the narrowest setting, to give yourself a tidy sheet of pasta, fold the pasta in half lengthways, then in half again, then in half again once more until you’ve got a square-ish piece of dough. Turn it 90 degrees and feed it through the machine at the widest setting. As you roll it down through the settings for the last time, you should end up with a lovely rectangular silky sheet of dough with straight sides – just like a real pro! If your dough is a little cracked at the edges, fold it in half just once, click the machine back two settings and feed it through again. That should sort things out. Whether you’re rolling by hand or by machine you’ll need to know when to stop. If you’re making pasta like tagliatelle, lasagne or stracchi you’ll need to roll the pasta down to between the thickness of a beer mat and a playing card; if you’re making a stuffed pasta like ravioli or tortellini, you’ll need to roll it down slightly thinner or to the point where you can clearly see your hand or lines of newsprint through it. 

Once you’ve rolled your pasta the way you want it, you need to shape or cut it straight away. Pasta dries much quicker than you think so whatever recipe you’re doing, don’t leave it more than a minute or two before cutting or shaping it. You can lay over a damp clean tea towel which will stop it from drying. Buon Appetito

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