Monday, February 11, 2013

Homemade Pasta

Last month, hubster and I took a homemade pasta making class at Sur la Table. If you have one near you, I highly recommend taking their classes. I've taken this one, macarons, and next month I'll be taking homemade croissants. My husband's parents make homemade pasta all the time, but they're not the best of teachers. So, we took it upon ourselves to finally learn, and we are so glad we did.

Here I am at Sur La Table learning how to knead the dough properly:

And here were the three different types we made:
- Fettuccine with Roasted Winter Squash, Arugula & Pine Nuts
- Tomato Pappardelle with Sausage & Mushroom Ragu
- Spinach Linguini with Walnut Sage Cream Sauce & Crispy Proscuitto

I'll show you how we made fresh papardelle with mushroom and sausage ragu at home:

Start off making your fresh pasta dough. You'll basically need flour (I used "00" which is the best for pasta dough), eggs, olive oil and salt. The classic ratio for fresh pasta dough is 3 parts flour to 2 parts egg. Add one egg for each main course serving and then add 1.5 times that amount of flour. We made it for 8 people. So we had 8 eggs and 5 cups flour. Obviously if you want to make it for 4, you'd use 4 eggs and 2.5 cups flour. Add 1 tbs salt per 4 servings.

You can do this in a bowl to make it less messy or throw it all right on your countertop as my husband insisted on doing. Make a well with your flour and crack all the eggs in the center.

Then smash it all together:

You'll want to knead the dough then on a lightly floured surface, adding small amounts of flour if needed, for about 5 - 10 minutes. If it's too dry, add a drizzle of olive oil. The dough is done being kneaded when it's smooth and flexible, but not sticky. Gather the dough into a ball and and flatten into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least 10 minutes up to 1 hour. We let it rest while we made our sauce.

Here are the ingredients for the sauce (this recipe serves 4, so we obvi doubled it):

- 2 tbs olive oil divided
- 1 1/2 lbs italian sausage
- 4 portobello mushrooms, cut into 1 in pieces
- 1 yellow onion, cut into 1/2 in dice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper
- 1 28 oz can tomatoes, crushed
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth (always buy low sodium when cooking. You can always add the salt yourself)
- 1 tbs sage leaves, thinly sliced

Place a large skillet over med-high heat and add 1 tbs oil. When oil begins to simmer, add sausage, crumbling with a wooden spoon and cook just until browned, 3-4 minutes. We removed the casing ourselves first.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked sausage to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Wipe out the skillet and add the remaining 1 tbs of oil. Add mushrooms and cook over med heat, about 4 min. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 min. Season with salt/pepper. Stir in tomatoes, beef broth and sage. Stir in sausage and lower to a simmer. Gently cook for 10 minutes. (We actually let it simmer until our guests arrived.)

Your pasta dough should be ready by now. We splurged and purchased the Kitchen Aid attachments, which are the best. I can't recommend them enough. One is for flattening the dough, one for fettucini, and one for linguini. You can also purchase a hand crank one, which works well, too. I prefer the automatic version. 

Cut the dough into thirds. We used this tool, which works really well for scraping and cutting dough. To prevent the dough from drying out, cover the remaining pieces in the plastic wrap again. Flatten one piece into a rough square that will fit within the width of your pasta machine. Place the number on 1, the widest setting, and begin to feed your dough through the machine:

You want to do this 4 more times, each time changing the dial to the next number, all the way up to 5 or 6, however thin you want it. If it becomes too long, just cut it in half and keep going. We wanted papardelle, so I cut our dough by hand. You want to flour it again while your working with it:

Place cut dough into little floured nests onto baking sheets. Be sure to toss them in flour to prevent sticking. You can cook the dough immediately or covered and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.

To cook, add enough salt to the water to season like sea water. Once water is boiling, add pasta and stir right away to prevent sticking. Fresh pasta cooks very fast, only 2-3 minutes. We used this tool to scoop out the finished pasta since it can be very fragile to handle.

To serve, pour the ragu sauce over each dish of pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. In typical me fashion, I did not take a picture of the final product, I instead consumed it at an alarming rate. So if you want to see what it looks like complete, you'll have to make it yourself! Good luck!

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1 comment:

  1. what an awesome experience! we do have one in the mall near me...need to check out their classes!