For Christmas I received a pasta roller. It’s been sitting around until now. Now, there are pasta rollers and there are pasta makers. I didn’t want a maker because I like making things myself. The roller basically thins the pasta out one level at a time. It’s sort of an old world way of making pasta with the ease of a modern roller. And it’s fun to make your own fresh noodles.
I made the dough on a clean counter, just like the good old days. Pasta has only three ingredients: egg, flour, salt. Just like bread, you have to keep it simple otherwise it won’t taste as good and wholesome. I used a combination of all purpose and semolina flour. Semolina from durum wheat has a higher gluten percentage. The extra protein makes this pasta have complexity, rather than just plain white flour. I could have made full durum wheat pasta, but it’s expensive so I combined them.
I had to secure my roller to a small table because our countertops are too thick. You could also affix it to a big wooden or stone block. If you make the dough properly, it shouldn’t tear apart from being too sticky or crumble from being too dry.
I used some creativity to build my own pasta drying rack. It worked quite well. Within 45 minutes, the noodles were dried and ready to cook. Now for the lasagna: I’ll be using my usual lasagna recipe but with spinach added.
The lasagna noodles crisped up nice where exposed. Otherwise they were nutty and had more depth than store bought dried pasta. Do yourself a favor and make your own pasta; it’s well worth the minor labor. You can also make them and dry them. Then store them in your cabinet or freezer.
2 cups flour (2:1 ratio of all purpose to semolina)
pinch of kosher salt
Combine flours and salt on surface. Make a well in the middle and add your eggs. Beat them with a fork and slowly incorporate flour from the well into the egg mixture. Mix until it’s too thick to use a fork and switch to your hands. Knead and combine with hands until a nice ball forms and it no longer sticks to the counter. It will feel a bit rough, but that’s normal. Cover it with a towel and let sit for 1 1/2 hours.
Cut the ball into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a mini ball. Pass through the roller on the widest setting. Fold in thirds length-wise, rotate 90 degrees, and pass again. Repeat process. Continue through each setting (passing through twice for each setting) until you’ve gone through the thinnest. The pasta should hold its shape, yet be thin enough to see light through it.
If it tears, just fold it together and repeat. If you notice it’s sticking to the rollers, dust it with flour and roll through. Dust them well and hang on racks for 45 minutes to one hour. Or if you want them to remain rectangular, let them dry for about 10 minutes then transfer to a sheet pan, otherwise they’ll crack when you straighten them out.
Cook them in salted boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Don’t overcrowd the pot. I cooked three at a time. After cooked, layer them on a sheet pan with wax paper or parchment paper in between layers. Add them to your lasagna and bake lasagna as usual.
This made me 8 4 ” x 13″ strips and the extras I cut off made a 9th. That gave me three noodles per level in my 9 x 13 pan plus a 4th on the top. In terms of weight, it’ll give you a pound of pasta. Use this recipe for spaghetti, fettuccine, or anything else. You just have to use a pasta cutter or cut by yourself (seems laborious).
You’ll never buy dried pasta again.
*next up… Fig and Port Jam…*
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