It was a cold and raining Saturday afternoon, four girls huddled around a selection of cheese’s and accompaniments and red wine, and prepared for an afternoon of pasta making. This is how it begun.
Making my own pasta is something I have wanted to do for ages. It makes perfect sense that seeing I have eaten, and still do eat a fair amount of the stuff, that I make it myself. My friend Sarah had the brilliant idea of spending a Saturday afternoon with the girls and do such a thing. And brilliant it was. Making homemade pasta is one of the best cooking experiences I’ve ever had. Its so therapeutic and hard work, that you really feel like you’ve accomplished something. And the end result, oh well that’s just amazing fresh silky pasta.
I’ll be honest, the kneading part wasn’t too fun. Well it was, due to the screams of “why aren’t you soft yet!” and Leanne and my attempts at stealing Sarah and Elise’s perfect dough while they weren’t looking. We didn’t try that hard, but gees did we get the old arm muscles working. I haven’t been to the gym in quite a while so this was my weekend work out.
Putting the pasta through the machine, whilst constantly dropping the turning handles on the floor, made us all a little giddy. And when you get to the final stage of putting it through the fettuccine setting, there’s this almost heavenly ‘ahhhh’ – pasta! It was like my child. I was so proud. I took photos on my phone and sent it to everyone. I made pasta.
I actually took a lot of photos. Really. Lots.
Oh I should really talk about the recipe. Ok so the recipe comes from Jamie Oliver’s book Cook with Jamie, but you can find the original here. I always thought you needed olive oil and salt, but this recipe with just flour and eggs worked perfectly. Don’t panic if it seems too dry – it will come together beautifully. I was tempted to add water or oil but held off. Make sure you buy the real deal flour, ordinary flour will not work.
FRESH EGG PASTA
Recipe from Jamie Oliver
Recipe from Jamie Oliver
600g Tipo ‘00’ flour (or farina di grano tenero, which is an Italian very finely sieved flour)
6 large eggs
6 large eggs
Sieve the flour in a bowl, and then pour onto a clean kitchen bench top. You can also do this in a bowl or board, but a bench top gives you more room to work.
Make a well with the flour and place the crack eggs in the centre. Using your fingers, break the eggs up (you can also do this with a fork) and slowly and carefully start incorporate the eggs and flour together using your finger tips. When all is combined, knead the dough for around 10 minutes, or until you have a smooth, slightly elastic dough. You will know when it’s ready as it will have a nice gloss finish and will be soft with no dry cracks.
Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
If you don’t have a pasta machine, I suggest referring to Jamie’s site for tips. If you do, read on!
Clamp the machine to a table with a good amount of length in front of it (trust me, you’ll need it). Dust the surface with a bit of the pasta flour, and grab an orange size amount of dough. Press it out so it’s a little flat and start to roll the dough through the machine on the widest setting. After each roll, reduce the setting to slightly narrower and feed through again. When you reach the thinnest setting, fold the dough in half and half again until you have a square, then feed through the machine again, going from the widest setting to the narrowest. Do this one more time. This process works the dough, which will result in smooth and silky pasta. As you work, continue to lightly flour the dough so it doesn’t stick to the machine.
After rolling it out, when you have a pasta thickness you’re happy with (2mm is ideal), lay the sheet of pasta out on the bench. To make fettuccine or spaghetti, cut the long sheet into 30 cm pieces, then roll each piece through the setting you prefer (fettuccine or spaghetti pasta). Once it’s through the machine, flour the strands of pasta so no bits stick to each other.
Alternatively, you can fold the pasta into a square, then cut the strands with a floured knife. If making ravioli or pasta with a filling, you will need a slightly thicker sheet of pasta.
The pasta will store in the fridge for a couple of days or you can freeze it, but its best eaten straight away!
Although Jamie says this recipe serves 4, we made enough for 12.