Homemade Pasta Tonight
Making homemade pasta is great way to entertain friends and family. Kids love watching pantry ingredients: flour, eggs, salt, and olive oil turn into yellow noodles. I’ve tried many recipes with 00 pasta flour, many eggs, and making the dough on a board in the kitchen. The food processor recipe works best for me, with a little elbow grease at the end.
Yes, you will need some attachments for your heavy duty mixer: a pasta roller, and a cutter in the pasta shapes you desire. (Unless you’re an expert at making homemade pasta by hand.) Don’t scrimp on these attachments- go with heavy attachments. They will last a very long time. To clean them, just brush them with little brushes. Don’t wash them in the kitchen sink or dishwasher.
Work quickly to make the dough thinner by placing it through the roller several times. When the dough is about-1/4 inch thickness, you are ready to cut the noodles. (This is why the perfect pasta dough is so important!) Hang the noodles to dry for at least 15 minutes. You can hang them over the kitchen counter, or use a fun collapsible drying rack.
Don’t forget that fresh pasta cooks faster than the traditional dried pasta. Generously salt the water for the pasta. Use a skimmer or spaghetti spoon to lightly drain the pasta and place it directly in the sauce. If needed, add additional pasta water.
With a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time. Get the whole family involved and learn to make homemade pasta tonight. Why does pasta taste so good in your favorite Italian restaurant? Chances are it’s homemade. I’m planning a cooking trip to Rome in the spring. I’m sure I will learn some new tricks with homemade pasta dough.
Talk to you in two weeks,
Connie, author of Scratch That™ Seasonal Menus and Perfect Pairings, conniefairbanks.com
Food-Processor Pasta Dough
(adapted from Gourmet 1997)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the board
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon water, at room temperature
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
In the food processor, add the flour and salt, process for a few seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients, and process until it looks like coarse cornmeal, a minute or so. Remove from the food processor, and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 5 minutes. Place into a six inch disc and cover with plastic wrap. If you aren’t going to use the dough within an hour, chill it in the refrigerator.
Before you plan to roll the pasta dough, bring it to room temperature.
Set the pasta roller at the widest setting on the Kitchen Aid attachment. Cut the dough in 4 vertical 2 inch wide strips. Feed each of the four pieces through the pasta roller several times until it is your desired thickness for whatever type of pasta you are making. (For this recipe, I used a spaghetti size.)
Change the attachment to the desired shape of pasta. Place the thin strips into spaghetti noodles, or whatever degree of thickness you desire. Hang the pasta noodles to dry for at least 15 minutes.
In the meantime, bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta quickly, and boil gently until it is al dente, or several minutes. (Fresh pasta dough cooks quicker than dried pasta.)
Add the pasta to the sauce with a spaghetti spoon or a skimmer... Add some leftover pasta water to the sauce, if needed. Toss together, simmer gently, and serve.
Serves: 4 – 6 as an entree
Homemade Tomato Sauce
2 (28 ounce) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, broken into pieces with your hands
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ medium red onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt- divided
½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper- divided
One tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus some for garnish
Over medium heat, spread the olive oil in a large skillet. Heat until it shimmers and sauté the onion until softened. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. , Add the garlic, and continue sautéing for another minute. Add the tomato paste to deglaze the pan. Stir for about 30 seconds to remove any bits from the bottom of the pan.
In a separate bowl, break up the tomatoes with your hands. Add them to the garlic/onion mixture, and simmer over low heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add the dried basil, pepper flakes, and pinch of sugar. Continue simmering for at least 30 minutes.
Process the sauce with an immersion blender, if desired. Check for seasonings.
Right before you serve the pasta sauce, add the fresh basil. Add the pasta to the skillet, and toss until coated. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or sausages, if desired. Garnish with extra basil leaves.
Yield: Enough sauce for 4 – 6 entrée servings of pasta
Notes: This tomato sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for a few days in a covered container. Add garlic and red pepper flakes to your taste. Add fresh basil right before serving.