August 12th, 2008

Learning to make fresh pasta

freshcutpasta.jpg

Making fresh pasta is one of those things I’ve never really had the urge to try. Seeing people on TV throwing eyeballed amounts of flour onto an empty counter, digging a little hole in the middle and mixing in the eggs, just seemed complicated. Without planning for it, however, I ended up making fresh pasta at a Casa Toscana cooking class and it wasn’t as complicated as I envisioned. Plus, there’s something satisfying about cooking pasta you made yourself.

Pasta-making machine

Sandra Stefani, chef and owner of Casa Toscana, did not throw flour onto a counter. In fact, she discouraged us from doing that. Instead, she put the flour into a bowl, mixed it in with the eggs and then let her students knead the dough until it reached the consistency desired — stiff and elastic. We flattened it with a rolling pin and then Sandra pulled out what she called her “Mickey Mouse pasta machine.” We took turns stretching and cutting the dough. After one try, I just wanted to keep doing it. We cut the pasta dough in many different shapes and prepared it with a simple tomato, garlic and basil sauce. It was easy and fun.

freshpasta.jpg

Now I have to see if I can replicate this at home. It may take a little practice, but at least now the intimidation is gone.

Egg Pasta*

Ingredients

– 3 extra-large eggs
– 2 cups all-purpose flour

Preparation

Place the flour in a large stainless steel bowl.

Break the eggs one at a time, mixing the egg into the flour with a fork. Once eggs are incorporated into the flour begin kneading with your hands until the dough is stiff and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into several balls and flatten each with a rolling pin, then with a pasta machine until very thin, flouring as you roll to avoid sticking.

You may cut the pasta “rustic style” with knife or with the pasta machine attachment.

Fresh pasta is delicate so it must be cooked for a minute or two in boiling water. Serve immediately.

* Recipe by Sandra Stefani

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4 Responses to “Learning to make fresh pasta”

  1. Oh, this article brought back old, childhood memories of watching my mother and her sisters making homemade pasta, ravioli and gnocchi. I loved to watch and sometimes even got to help. The pasta machine pictured looked just like my mom’s. Can you guess that my family is Italian?

  2. Oh, homemade pasta! I used to make pasta with my mom when I was a kid, sometimes in flower shapes. That class looks delicious!

  3. Trina – The class is delicious! I’ve been meaning to go back but I’ve been out of town each time they hold one. We made four dishes and ate them at the table accompanied by great wine. You meet great people and spend quality time with food.

  4. […] for me to go back since somehow all the classes following the first one I attended –¬†where I learned to make fresh pasta¬†– fell on weekends when I was out of […]

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