Monday, May 8, 2017

Basic Pasta

We eat pasta often, because Kevin LOVES it. I try to never buy pasta anymore, because homemade is so much tastier, healthier, and it's pretty easy to make. (I did have Kevin pick up a box the other day, because I broke my pasta extruder and was in the middle of a recipe that called for elbows.) This recipe is very versatile, and I use it a lot, so I'm going to reference back to it often.
I use it for every noodle I make. Elbows, lasagne, soup, rigatoni, ravioli... you get the idea. I have used this basic recipe to make beet pasta, laminated pasta, and others I'm eager to share with you. I'm giving measurements here. I don't typically measure, but I've been making pasta dough a long time. 

I use a machine; Both the rollers and the extruder, depending on what I'm making. If you don't have either, there will be kneading and resting time involved. A machine does the work of kneading so well that resting time isn't necessary.

I've used all-purpose flour, GF flour, and 00 flour. GF is a flour I handle differently when I use it to make pasta. For this post, I am using 00 flour. All-purpose flour will work, too. 

*Cage Free = not in cages. However, they are probably crammed into a room where there is no room to move.

*Vegetarion = the birds never see the light of day. They never go outside to eat worms and insects the way that they need to.

*Pasture Raised = These hens roam outside eating bugs and worms and are not crammed into cages or rooms where they can't move. They birds get to stretch their legs. Their diet may or may not be organic (as it's difficult to guarantee what they eat) and have rich dark yolks that provide more nutritional value than other eggs. They are higher in vitamins A and E, betacarotene, and Omega-3''s.

*Organic = These birds may be given antibiotics. They have access to the outdoors, even if it's a small enclosed pen.

It's difficult to really know exactly what you're buying, because the USDA further classifies eggs according to their weight. My girls provide our eggs. They free-range, eat organics, and are NOT vegetarian. They're pretty happy here. If this is important to you, find and get to know a local seller. See how the hens live, how they spend their day, how their diet is supplemented, and where they sleep.

The measurements are the same for both processes; mechanical or hand kneaded.
  • 2 C flour
  • 4 egg yolks, plus 1 full egg, or 2/3 C egg (this is where egg size matters)

The easiest way...

Add flour and egg to a food processor or mixer with a dough attachment. Mix until it forms a ball. Form to the shape you desire with a pasta roller or extruder.

The easy way...

Make a well with flour. Pour eggs into the center of flour. Mix with a fork. Slowly incorporate more and more flour, until a soft dough is formed. Knead 5 minutes. Wrap and let rest 30 minutes. Roll out and cut to shape.

That's it. If you don't make your own pasta, I urge you to try it. Know that it becomes "old-hat" quickly. The more you make it, the more you'll wonder why you ever bought it from a store. If you really want to add nutrition, grind your own flour. I've played around with grinding with my Vitamix dry blade, and using the grinder attachment on my KitchenAid. For now, I choose to buy my flour from the store until I get a little German grinder I've had my eye on for years. German engineers know what they're doing. If I ever obtain it, I will share with you why it's worth the money. It's expensive, and somehow I always find other uses for that money. One can always dream...

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