Thursday, March 2, 2017

Homemade Pasta With Blood Orange

After being gifted a beautiful bottle of blood orange olive oil (thank you Mike & Sue), I knew I had to make homemade pasta with salmon. I gathered most of my ingredients together and set them out. Sometimes I don't know which ingredients I want until later. All of the work is in the making of the pasta. It's easier with a pasta roller, but can be made without.

There's a lot of controversy regarding the making of pasta. Which type of flour? Oil or no oil? Rest or no rest? The list is endless. I've made a lot of pasta over the years. I'm no expert, but I can hold my own. Before I had a roller, I would roll it out and cut it by hand. It's really simple, and horribly messy! My basic recipe is simple. Flour and eggs. Sometimes I add herbs or vegetables for both nutrition and aesthetics. That's a post for another day. I don't measure, but will do my best for you here. The number of eggs used will determine the amount of finished pasta you get. I usually make a three egg pasta for my husband and I. Remember, he is a hard-working man with a healthy appetite.
I've gathered most of my ingredients. I raise chickens for eggs, and it has worked out beautifully for all of us. I highly recommend farm-fresh eggs. Not just for pasta, but for everything. I love my girls, and they are spoiled beyond reason. After all, the happier and healthier they are, the better the eggs.

A silicone makes clean-up a lot easier. Pasta dough can really stick to a kitchen counter. Mound the flour onto the mat. Make a well in the center big enough to hold the eggs. If the egg spills over, just pull it back to the center with a fork and close that gap with flour. Using the fork, mix your eggs, round and round. Pull flour into the eggs until the dough is easy to handle. Knead that dough by hand. Work towards a dough that isn't sticky, but remains pliable.

The pasta can easily be rolled and cut by hand. First, cover it in plastic wrap and let it set for 45-60 minutes. This will help your flour to hydrate and relax the gluten.  Roll it out with a rolling pin, dust it with flour, fold it in half, and repeat until the dough is no longer sticky on the inside. Remember, it needs to be pliable, but not sticky. Check it by simply pinching a piece off and gently roll it between your fingers. If it stuck to your finger, add more flour by rolling and folding. When it's rolled to your desired thickness (my husband will want thick tonight), it can easily be cut with a pizza cutter. I typically roll to the thickness of a pie crust. If a more uniform noodle is what you're aiming for, then roll it up into a tube and cut it width-wise. When you unroll it voila! you have noodles. Magic, right?
A pasta roller saves my wrists, so that's what I use. Same concept. I make smallish balls out of my dough (a little larger than a large egg), flatten them out with my hand, and run them through the roller. After each pass, I dust it with flour, fold it into thirds, and run it through again. I start at the widest setting and end up around setting 4 or 5. This is just a matter of preference and one of the perks of making your own pasta. The dough doesn't need to rest if you use a roller.
When your sheets of pasta are the thickness you like, run them through the pasta cutter. (or cut by hand as described above) So easy! You can see here how a silicone mat comes in handy.
Almost done.
Boil those noodles! Throw a healthy amount of salt into a pot of boiling water. This salt will flavor your pasta. Boil the noodles until they are shiny and firm, but cooked. It's just egg and flour. All you want to do is cook the egg. I'm at high altitude and my noodles are thick, so mine will take a little longer. I will boil them 4-5 minutes. I have made thin noodles that only took a minute or two, and some that took as many as 8 minutes. These are not boxed noodles, so the texture won't be the same (these are so much better). Taste one every now and then while they're boiling. The finished feel in your mouth will be al dente. Soft but not soggy. Firm but not hard.
Drain your noodles onto a plate. Toss it with blood orange olive oil while it's still warm so it soaks up the oil. Top with feta cheese. Add dried rosemary from last summer's garden. Decorate with with a segment of blood orange. Squeeze a few segments of orange over it all. Finish it off with the zest of fragrant peel. The smell will test your patience.
I'm serving this with Blood Orange Salmon, which I will post tomorrow. If you can't wait, eat it now. It can hold it's own too.
  • 2 c flour more or less; I mostly use all-purpose, but have been playing with "00" flour. It's just a different grind
  • 2 large eggs
  • water to boil with  1 T salt
  • 1/4 c blood orange olive oil
  • 2-4 T feta cheese, your preference
  • 1 t rosemary
  • 1 blood orange