Monday, 16 April 2012

Poor Man's Fresh Pasta Dough

Home made Tagliatelle with Hand-Pounded Basil Pesto

This isn't Rich Man's Pasta Dough, or Middle-Class Man's Pasta Dough, it's Poor Man's Pasta Dough. Rich Man's pasta dough is made with 9 eggs yolks - just the yolks. Middle-Class Man's Pasta Dough is made with 1 egg yolk and 3 whole eggs. Poor Man's Pasta Dough only uses 2 WHOLE eggs. It's my favourite pasta because it's not pretentious it's still Rich. It's still rich in flavour without having to use NINE yolks. Having all those left-over egg whites gives me a nervous breakdown. I lie awake at night wondering how I'm going to use them up - you see I can't - I just can't - throw them away.

It's versatile too. You can make all your fresh pasta with it. It's good as long pasta like Tagliatelle, Fettuccine and Pappardelle, but also really good for ravioli and tortellini. Once you've made this, you'll be churning out fresh pasta like pro -  you'll be a pasta making machine.

Poor Man's Fresh Pasta Dough
from Lydia Bastianich's Lydia's Family Table
Serves 4

2 cups plain flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons very cold water, plus more as needed

Making the Dough:
Put the flour in the bowl of a food processor and process for a few seconds to aerate. Mix the eggs, olive oil, and 3 tablespoons water in a measuring cup or other spouted container, it should measure approx. 200ml. Start the food processor running and pour in the liquids through the feed tube. Process for 30 to 40 seconds until a soft dough forms and gathers on the blade. If the dough does not gather and is wet and sticky, process in more flour in small additions. If it is dry and stiff, process in more water, by spoonfuls.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for a minute until it's smooth, soft and stretchy. Press it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before using. For later use, refrigerate for up to a day or freeze it for a month or more. Defrost frozen dough in the refrigerator; return it to room temperature before rolling.

Rolling and Shaping the Dough:
To roll the dough in a standard home pasta machine, cut it into 4 pieces. Keeping the dough lightly floured, roll the pieces at progressively narrower settings, gradually stretching them into strips about 60cms long and as wide as your machine allows, usually about 12cms. Cut each strip in half crosswise, so you have 8 strips, about 30cms in length. Lay them flat on a lightly floured surface and keep covered with towels.

One at a time, put the pasta sheets through the cutting roller of the machine - my machine has two cutting options Tagliatelle and Capellini, I opted for Tagliatelle this time. Once cut, gather the noodles together into small bundles and sprinkle with flour to keep them from sticking together while you cut the rest of the sheets. When all the sheets are cut, you can cook the pasta in LOTS of  boiling salted water. They will only take about 2 minutes to cook. They are very delicate so be gentle when mixing them through your chosen sauce.

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