The staple of Italy, a day without pasta is a day not eaten!
Freshly made pasta is just so different to dried pasta. Get the kids involved and make it a fun exercise. Kids do love pasta anyway, but it taste even better when they prepare it themselves. Making pasta with the kids is great for those drizzly afternoons during those long school holidays when you have to find ideas to drag the kids away from their devices. You can use a stand mixer to quickly make the dough or if you are not afraid to clean the kitchen, let the kids mix the dough by hand.
The first reference of Pasta being used in the Italian Kitchen dates back to 1154 in Sicily, believed to be introduced by the Arabs coming from North Africa. Other and most common stories tell us that pasta was introduced by Marco Polo after his travels to Asia.
Who connected us?! I pinched this recipe from “The Naked Chef” Jamie Oliver.
Makes: 5 portions | Preparation: 10 min | Resting: 30 minutes | Rolling & Cutting: 15 minutes
- ’00’ Flour, 500 gr
- Eggs, 5
If Pasta is the main dish you need 100 grams of flour and 1 egg per person.
Making the dough
- For this first step I use a stand mixer with a dough hook. Put the flour and whole eggs in the mixer bowl. Using low speed mix for about 2 minutes or until the dough is smooth.
- Now you have 2 options for kneading. Either knead the dough in the stand mixer for about 5 minutes or knead the dough by hand on a smooth surface. Kneading the dough is necessary to develop the gluten in the dough. The kneading is finished when the dough feels smooth and silky. As a bonus you safe yourself a gym membership when you regularly knead fresh dough.
- Transfer the dough to a small bowl or plate, cover with plastic foil and let the dough rest for 30 minutes in the fridge. Make sure that the dough is well wrapped in the foil otherwise the dough will dry out and you will get crusty lumps through your pasta.
Rolling and cutting
- After the dough has rested, divide the dough into as many portions as the number of eggs you used (1 portion per person). I roll the dough into a log first and then divide the log into equal pieces with a dough scraper.
- When you use a pasta machine, make sure you free the bench of all clutter to make enough space for the pasta sheets. If you do not have a pasta machine, no worries, a rolling pin will do wonders. Just roll smaller pieces to be able to get thin pasta.
- Make sure the pasta machine is clamped firmly and clean the surface of the bench thoroughly. Dust the surface with a little flour to prevent the pasta from sticking.
- Take a piece of the pasta and flatten with your hands. To start you set the pasta machine in its widest setting and roll the pasta dough trough for the first time.
- Fold the pasta sheet and roll it trough the pasta machine again in the widest setting. You repeat this step about 5 or 6 times. It seems that you are getting nowhere, but you are working the dough which now becomes smooth and silky.
- After this you start rolling the pasta through the machine changing the setting 1 step each time until you rolled the dough to a thickness of your liking. Depending on the stickiness of the pasta you need to dust the pasta and machine with a bit of flour.
- The thickness you want for your pasta depends on what pasta dish you are making. For Lasagna (ideal with fresh pasta) or tagliatelle you leave the pasta a bit thicker (number 6-7). When you are making stuffed pasta like ravioli you make the pasta very thin (number 7-8).
- Once you have rolled the pasta the way you want it, do not leave it to long before you cut it into the shape you want it. Pasta dries quickly, which means after a minute or two you can not cut it anymore.
- After cutting the pasta I usually leave it on the bench to dry slightly. Just make sure you dust the bench and the pasta to prevent it from sticking.
Cooking fresh pasta
Fresh Pasta cooks much quicker then dried pasta. When making Tagliatelle for example the Pasta is ready in 2 minutes when you plunge it into boiling water. Making Lasagna with fresh pasta is awesome, it is much easier to cut fresh Pasta into the right size for the dish you use. Because fresh Pasta does not soak the liquid out of the sauces as much as dried Pasta, you can use a bit less sauce, and again the fresh Pasta cooks much quicker then dried Pasta.
I explain more about cutting and cooking the pasta in the recipes.
How many; 100 grams of flour combined with 1 egg usually makes enough pasta for 1 person. You do the maths from here.
Resting; Resting the dough before rolling it is an important step. It allows the gluten to develop and give you a smoother silkier dough.
Whole meal flour; You can make pasta with other types of flour like wholemeal or spelt or even rice flour. The pasta will most likely not be as smooth as with ‘OO’ Flour, but give it a go if you prefer to try a healthier option.
Salt; Fresh pasta does not require salt, that’s a mistake from the factories.