Friday, January 28, 2011

Family Dinner: Pasta Made at Home

A couple weeks ago, my friend contacted me with an invitation to a family style potluck dinner. We have had many of these dinners before. But this time, he told me we were making homemade pasta. I grabbed my roommate and our pasta maker and arrived to his house early to have fun. I never made my own pasta before so this was a learning experience for me. It was fabulous. We made four batches of pasta on two different pasta makers. We hung the pasta to dry on clothing hangers on my friend's bicycle which rests of the ceiling of the apartment living room.

Take a look at the beautiful photos and try this yourself at home:

Fresh Pasta (adapted from Bittman's How to Cook Everything Traditional Egg Pasta Dough)

What You Need (this makes about one pound of pasta)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 eggs
- A few drops of water, if needed

What You Do
1. To make the dough by hand, mound the flour on a smooth counter top, or place in a bowl.
2. Make a well in the center and add salt.
3. Then, break in an egg, beating with a fork and incorporating a little of the flour.
4. Beat in another egg and repeat, until all the flour is mixed with the eggs.
5. Gather the mixture into a ball.
6. Place the dough on a dry, lightly floured work surface and knead until it is smooth(add a couple drops of water if it is dry and grainy).
7. Cover with plastic and let refrigerate for 30 minutes.
8. Divide the dough into four pieces and be prepared to work with one piece at a time.
9. Clamp the pasta rolling machine to the counter and sprinkle a nearby surface with flour.
10. Roll the dough lightly in the flour and flatten it with your hands.
11. Set the machine to 1 and crank the dough through. (Dust with flour if it sticks).
12. Set the machine to 2 and pass the flattened dough through again. Repeat, setting the machine to a higher number each time until you get to 6.
13. Let the pasta rest and move on to another piece of dough.
14. When you are ready, pass the flattened dough through the appropriate cutting blade (in our case, it was fettuccine).
15. Separate the strands and let them hang dry (see our hangers).
16. Add pasta to bowling water and let cook until floating in pot or cooked to your taste (this is going to be less than 5 minutes-- most likely 3 minutes).

We made four different sauces to eat with our pasta. It was amazing.

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