Thursday, September 29, 2011

Homemade Pasta

There are certain times when making homemade pasta is completely worth it.  One of those times, for me, is for Chicken Noodle Soup.  (Gee, I wonder what tomorrows post will be...)
The process can be time consuming, but I also feel like it can be therapeutic.
The first couple times I made pasta, I didn't get it exactly how I would like it.  But with trial and error, and practice, I have learned a few things that help me get it more how I like it every time.  The recipe I use is for the food processor and I love it because makes it so much easier than making it by hand.

2 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 tsp oil
extra flour for rolling

Add flour, salt and eggs to food processor, fitted with steel blade.   Process for 20-30 seconds until mixture resembles cornmeal.  Mix water and oil in measuring cup.  With processor running, add water slowly until mixture starts to come together, it will still look a little "crumbly."  Don't add water until dough forms a ball or it will be too wet.  It should look like this:

Form into a ball, flour both sides and wrap with plastic wrap.  Let sit at least 10 minutes to an hour.  I usually let it sit closer to the hour.  This makes it easier to roll out.  If for some reason, you can't wait ten minutes, just know the dough won't cooperate as well.
Separate dough into 4 pieces.  Roll one at a time and cover remaining dough until ready to use.
I am going to show both methods to roll the dough out.  I have done it by hand quite a few times, it's really not too bad.  It does take a little time, so if you are in a rush, I don't recommend it.  Don't skimp on the flour.  Make sure you have a good coat on the top and bottom of the dough and reapply often. Roll it out thin enough you can see through it.  If it's too thick the noodles will be rubbery (and too thick).  Keep in mind they get thicker as they absorb water while cooking.
Let the dough sit out, uncovered for 20 minutes before cutting. (This will help it not stick together once it's cut.)
When I make soup with them, I sometimes like it when they are cut into squares and are a little uneven.  (Or maybe I tell myself I like it so I won't be bothered that they are uneven.)  I just cut them with a pizza cutter.

You can also roll the dough and cut it (see below) to look more like traditional noodles, just make sure you unroll them before putting them in the pot to cook.
The second way is with a pasta machine.  It's a little less time consuming and I can let my kids help because there isn't anything to ruin. They usually crank while I feed it through.  I let them put the flour on the dough because you really can't have too much.  Start with the largest setting (on mine it's the smallest number. #1)  Then do the next smallest and then after that you can skip one each time until it's the right thickness.  For instance, on my machine I do a roll on 1 then 2 then 4, 6 and sometimes 7.  Between each roll, add more flour to both sides of your dough.  If your dough starts to have texture in it like an orange peel, you are jumping thicknesses too quickly or you need more flour.
 Once you get it to the right thickness, let the dough sit for 20 minutes, uncovered before cutting. You can either cut it by hand (above) or if you have the cutting attachments for your pasta machine you can use that.
This thickness noodle usually takes 1-2 minutes to cook.  Be ready, after all that time being patient and rolling it out, it cooks pretty fast!

Recipe from:Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (Better Homes & Gardens Plaid)

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